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Stoops: Juron Criner ‘ready to go’ for Arizona this fall

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Juron Criner's mysterious "serious" issue might not have been as serious as many originally thought.

Arizona coach Mike Stoops told the Arizona Daily Star on Monday that Criner is currently working out on campus and expects to join the team when fall camp opens on Aug. 4.

"We anticipate having Juron," Stoops told the paper. "He had some family issues that were concerning over the summer, and those are personal. We anticipate him being the same player -- or a better player -- than he was a year ago."

This is a complete about-face from the slew of reports that emerged last month fearing Criner, Arizona's top receiver, would miss the entire 2011 season with an undisclosed situation.

At the time, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote that Criner didn't have an injury, but that whatever he was going through was serious. Bruce Cooper, of the Phoenix-area NBC affiliate, wrote in a blog post for AZcentral.com that Criner had "experienced a very erratic episode" and noted that Criner was undergoing neurological testing. He went on to speculate what the episode was about, but never provided any concrete information about Criner's situation.

Regardless of what happened, it looks like Criner feels better about his off-field issues, which should make Arizona fans and coaches feel better about their upcoming season.

Last season, Criner led the Pac-10 with 82 catches for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns. He'll headline a receiving corps that was the best in the conference and the ninth-best in the country. The Wildcats return their top five receivers from a year ago and also add Texas transfer Dan Buckner to the lineup.

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