The Arizona Wildcats enjoyed a very successful 8-5 season under first year head coach Rich Rodriguez, including an exciting 49-48 win the Gildan New Mexico Bowl over the Nevada Wolfpack. That success was helped by the emergence of running back Ka’Deem Carey, who led the nation in rushing this season and is in line to win the rushing title. That left few carries for other running backs on the depth chart, which has prompted Daniel Jenkins to seek a transfer for his final year of eligibility.
Jenkins graduated last week with a degree in public management and policy, so he will be allowed to join any program in the country and play right away as long as that school offers a graduate program that is otherwise unavailable at Arizona. It’s the same NCAA rule that allowed Jeremiah Masoli to play for the Ole Miss Rebels after being dismissed from the Oregon Ducks and, more recently, Russell Wilson to transfer from the NC State Wolfpack to the Wisconsin Badgers without sitting out a season.
Jenkins was the second leading rusher among running backs for the Wildcats in 2012. He finished the season with 293 yards rushing and two touchdowns with his best game coming against the Arizona State Sun Devils when he gained 78 yards on 21 carries.
However, Carey stole the show in Tucson this season as he burst onto the national scene, gaining 1,929 yards with 23 touchdowns. He led the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 148.38 yards per game. The Arizona offense will likely look to feature the sophomore even more next season and with two years of eligibility left, it’s unlikely Jenkins would see significant playing time over Carey.
The backup running back offered nice depth for the Arizona backfield, but the Wildcats have been doing well on the recruiting trail. They currently have three talented backs set to sign letters of intent in February and will also return rising sophomore Jared Baker.
It’s not yet known where Jenkins will end up, but it was a difficult decision for the young man to make. While his teammates wildly celebrated their New Mexico Bowl win, Jenkins stayed on the sideline, on a knee, blinking away tears. The young man wants to play and nobody can fault him for that.
Unfortunately for him, the Wildcats have found their running back for the foreseeable future elsewhere.