UA FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Jenkins runs full circle

RB Jenkins returns to UA to push Carey after opting not to transfer to WSU
2013-05-21T00:00:00Z Arizona football: Jenkins runs full circleDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Daniel Jenkins walked out of the Arizona football offices Monday afternoon wearing a blue UA polo and talked about how much he loves the university and his teammates.

It was like he never left.

And, in a way, he never did.

The 5-foot-9-inch, 196-pound running back, who officially returned to the Wildcats program earlier this month, shed light on his decision to return to the UA after announcing in January that he was transferring to Washington State.

"I was never enrolled at Washington State," Jenkins said. "I was there for about a month, but I wasn't participating in spring ball or anything like that.

"Hypothetically speaking, I never left. I never signed any scholarship papers or received funds from Washington State or anything like that."

The senior from Moreno Valley, Calif., graduated from the UA in December and could have played for the Cougars this season with one year of eligibility remaining. Instead, he decided to return to Tucson for a couple of different reasons.

"It was a combination of events," Jenkins said. "I had some things going on with (my family). I had an opportunity to come back and finish my career here at Arizona, so I decided to come back."

The running back served in the No. 2 role last season behind Ka'Deem Carey and rushed for 301 yards and two touchdowns on 67 carries. Jenkins likely will return to that role this season, but he's hoping to compete with Carey and get as many touches as possible.

The Star chatted with Jenkins about his decision to return, his short experience at Washington State and what his teammates thought of him coming back to Tucson.

On his conversation with UA coach Rich Rodriguez when he decided he wanted to return: "It was a good conversation. We both got on the same page and talked about our goals as far as individually and team goals. We came together and I decided to come back. … Initially, it was the family issues, and then I got in contact with coach Rodriguez and coach (Calvin) Magee, and we sat down and talked and got on the same page."

On if he ever envisioned returning to the UA after announcing his transfer: "I didn't have any intentions of it ending it up this way. But, everything happens for a reason. This is God's master plan for my life, and I'm excited about ending my career here as a Wildcat."

On the reaction of his teammates when he returned: "It was definitely interesting. It was a reunion. It was like I never left. I stayed in contact with a lot of my teammates. I'm very close with everybody on different individual levels. I was happy to be back and they were happy to have me. Me leaving had nothing to do with any of them. They understood and they're happy to have me back."

On why he decided to leave in the first place: "This whole thing was all about it being my last year and trying to seek the best opportunity for my career. I initially felt it was in my best interest to leave and obviously now I feel like it's in my best interest to be here again and a part of this program. I've been here the last four years of my life. It's home for me now."

On what he wants his role to be: "I have no intentions of being a backup running back. I'll compete as hard as I can. I have every intention of being a starting running back."

On having Carey ahead of him on the depth chart: "I don't look at that situation. I just look at myself and stay in my own lane and do what I'm told to do. It's all about competition, and I'm looking forward to it. I know his talent and my talent will, in the end, result in great things for the program. We will all work together for the team, not the individual."

On his experience at Washington State: "It was short. I didn't have any ill feelings toward them or anything like that. I was out there training, working out on my own. They are great folks."

On StarNet: View photos of Daniel Jenkins at azstarnet.com/gallery

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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