January 16, 2013

Backfield boost, 'Zona RB transfers to Wazzu

Daniel Jenkins has enjoyed the last four years at the University of Arizona, but with his college career inching closer to an end, the former four-star running back realized he needed a fresh start.

On Wednesday night, Jenkins made it official that he would be transferring to Washington State, giving him the opportunity to be the number one guy out of the Cougars backfield.

"The decision I made to transfer was based off of getting myself an opportunity to showcase myself in my last year," Jenkins said in a phone interview. "I went through the whole process of going to visit different schools and I chose Washington State because I felt like they gave me the best opportunity, with the most exposure, and the chance to come in and be the featured back at a big time university."

The Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde product was effective out of the backfield this season in limited duty for the Wildcats, rushing for 293 yards on 67 attempts and scoring two touchdowns.

Unfortunately for Jenkins, he was buried on the depth chart behind the nation's leading rusher, Ka'Deem Carey, minimizing his playing time. With Carey returning for his junior season, Jenkins knew it was time to seek his options.

The 5-9, 196-pound back was in Pullman last weekend taking one of his three visits to potential landing spots. In addition to Washington State, Jenkins was considering Houston and New Mexico State.

Following his visit, there was a lot to like about the Cougars program but one person in particular stood out for Jenkins; a person he has known since he was a junior in high school.

"A big part of it was Coach Jim Mastro," Jenkins said. "He was up in Nevada when I was in high school and he recruited me really hard. I trust Coach Mastro, I know what type of man he is and he's a man of great character."

"He sat down with me, turned on some film, got up on the board and we just talked X's and O's and at the end of the conversation it was basically told to me that I was going to be the man getting the bulk of carries. I was going to get the opportunity to catch the ball out of the backfield and do everything that I need to do to show that I'm a next level type of back."

Jenkins recently received his degree in Public Policy and Management with a focus in Criminal Justice and Business. Under NCAA rules, Jenkins will be eligible to play immediately because he will be transferring to a school that has a graduate program that Arizona does not offer. He is expected to be in Pullman following spring semester in time for summer workouts and, in the meantime, will be working out back home in Moreno.

So what type of running back are the Cougars getting with Jenkins?

"Basically me being a back of my size I think a lot of people make the mistake and think that I'm a speed guy but over the last four years I've been in a college program and I've been honing my skills just waiting to blow up," Jenkins said. "I really consider myself a running back that can do it all. I'm very nifty with the ball, I have great quickness, and good speed."

Jenkins brings a veteran and talented presence to a position group that ranked dead last in the country in rushing and he can't wait to come in and make a difference.

"I'm excited to showcase everything for Washington State and let everyone know what I've got."

The Cougars will travel to Tucson to take on Arizona on Nov. 16th, giving Jenkins one last chance to play at his alma mater.

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