Nov. 23, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA: Arizona Wildcats running back Daniel Jenkins (3) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 41-34. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
One of the attractions to college athletics is the predictability of the unpredictable.
The running back situation for Coach Mike Leach and his Washington State Cougars continues to be a concern and defies prognostication.
As Josh Davis of All Coug’d Up wrote yesterday in his piece, “RB Race Opening Up, Not Clearing Up” about the “intrigue” as to whether or not there will be improvement this fall in the Cougar running game, the situation continues to raise more questions than answers.
One answer surfaced yesterday rather unexpectedly.
Daniel Jenkins tweeted to the world last January he was packing his bags for Pullman, leaving Arizona and enrolling at WSU to use his final year of NCAA eligibility. Why? He’s running out of time to build a résumé that warrants attention from NFL scouts.
Jenkins graduated last December creating the possibility of transferring to any school in the nation without having to sit out a year.
Getting minimal playing time the past three seasons with the Wildcats, the diminutive, solidly built running back averaged 4.7 yard per carry. Not eye-popping, but no question Jenkins has the potential to be a featured back in the Pac-12. His problem last year was playing on the same team with one of the best running backs in the nation, Ka’Deem Carey.
Carey is currently ranked No. 1 at the position in the Pac-12 by Athlon Sports and considered by experts to be one of the top five running backs in the 2014 NFL draft.
If one uses logic when considering options, Jenkins’ decision to return as a backup to Carey this fall triggers obligatory head scratching.
This time next year it will be easier to judge the wisdom exercised by Jenkins to finish his collegiate career as a Wildcat.
No question a terrific sales pitch by Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez stirred the emotions of Jenkins. The young man has enjoyed his time in Tucson, so much so that he is willing to forego the potential to be a part of something special brewing on the Palouse.
Choosing Arizona over WSU suggests he may not have confidence in the progress Coach Leach is making to install his Air Raid offense. If the Cougar offense struggles again in 2013, Jenkins would probably regret the move. Based on the final scrimmage of spring ball, the Cougs look a year better offensively. Do they appear poised for a breakout season? Despite my unbridled enthusiasm, the answer is “No”.
If you look at the programs at Arizona and WSU and set aside bias, performance on the field favors the ‘Cats over the Cougs at this juncture.
Learn a new offense. Develop rapport with new teammates. Move to a new town. Those reasons and more gave Jenkins pause.
You have to smile when considering Jenkins has transferred to WSU, then transferred back to his alma mater. Crazy!
One wonders how Daniel Jenkins will feel about his decision this coming November 16th when Coach Leach brings the Cougars to Arizona Stadium to play some Pac-12 football.