Embattled former Texas wide receiver Cayleb Jones will become an Arizona Wildcat.
Mike Berman of YNN Austin first reported the news:
BREAKING NEWS: Cayleb Jones will transfer to Arizona. Just got the word from his dad Robert.— Mike Berman (@MikeBermanYNN) August 13, 2013
Due to NCAA eligibility rules regarding transfers, Jones will be forced to sit out the 2013 season. He can participate with the Wildcats' team activities during that time, and can make his debut for the school in 2014. It's highly likely that Jones will use his redshirt distinction, allowing him to retain the final three years of his eligibility.
Jones chose Arizona over six other major-college finalists for his services. His father, Robert, told YNN in early August that Arizona, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, East Carolina, North Carolina and Oklahoma comprised his final seven.
Jones left Texas in July amid controversy. The former Austin high school standout was suspended from the team in March after being charged with second-degree felony assault after an altercation at a nightclub. Jones allegedly punched and broke the jaw of Texas tennis player Joseph Swaysland, who was involved with a former girlfriend of the Longhorns wideout.
Charges against Jones were later reduced to a misdemeanor. Travis County assistant district attorney Gary Cobb noted the injuries sustained by Swaysland did not constitute a felony charge.
“We looked at it and don’t believe it fits the definition of serious bodily injury,” Cobb said (per ESPN's Carter Strickland). “There is bodily injury, but it doesn’t meet the legal definition [for a felony]."
Jones decided to transfer despite the lessened charges, as he and his family thought it would be better to get a “fresh start.”
While the Wildcats will hope the off-the-field troubles are behind him, landing Jones is unquestionably a coup for Rich Rodriguez and his staff. An explosive threat with the ball in his hands, Jones was a 4-star recruit and the 69th-best player in the Class of 2012, according to 247 Sports.
He made sporadic appearances last season as a true freshman, catching two balls for 35 yards. Mack Brown even brought him out of the backfield for one carry, which gained 10 yards. Many expected Jones to line up either as a third receiver or even as a starter for Texas as a sophomore before leaving the program.
Rodriguez, heading into his second season at Arizona, has made a name for himself by cultivating athletic talents like Jones. His spread-heavy attack led him to two BCS bowl victories while at West Virginia. And while Rodriguez's stint at Michigan ended with an unceremonious ouster, he again looked reinvigorated when landing at Arizona.
Rodriguez's Wildcats went 8-5 in his first season at the school, winning the New Mexico Bowl. Arizona had gone 4-8 in 2011 under Mike Stoops and interim replacement tim Kish.
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