With the recent increased likelihood of a longer suspension for star running back Chris Rodriguez, there has been a lot of uncertainty concerning the running back room and who will be starting for the few games that Rodriguez will sit.
Head coach Mark Stoops took to the podium Saturday after the teams second, and final, scrimmage to discuss what he has seen and he seems to be very high on Ramon Jefferson. Although he did not make it set in stone that we will see him starting, as we kick off the 2022 season in less than two weeks. As we end 2022 fall camp, it is safe to say that, although an official decision has not been made, Stoops is very bullish on the progression from the Sam Houston State transfer, along with the rest of the three-headed monster at running back going into week 1.
“(Ramon Jefferson) has been really had some really tough runs today. I thought he he showed what he's capable of today, I thought he was very physical, did some really good things and you got Jutahn (McClain) who's so good out of the backfield which is important in this offense and a lot of things done with him and then of course you’ve got Kavosiey (Smoke) so we’ve got a deep room and I don't know it's fair to compare one to the other. We have different styles. we have physical guys we have some guys that are a little faster, a little more elusive in the open field. so I don't know if I'm ready to compare anybody to Chris I don't know if that's fair to them.”
Whether or not the running back is a starter, it is safe to say that Jefferson will get some major playing time in his first few games as a Wildcat. On Saturday, star quarterback Will Levis even gave Jefferson some very high praise.
“Yeah he’s been a great player for us. We’re so solid and deep in the backfield. Some of those guys are, like I said with the tight ends, better at doing certain things than other guys we've been Ramones, like, he's like a little bowling ball he's like kind of a smaller version of Chris maybe a little shiftier. And he's got a good feel too, he's a smart football player, he's in he's doing a really good job and protection, and he's getting in his spots in the passing game and he’s been able to catch balls out of the backfield. As long as he just plays in how he is and who he is as a player, like, he's going to get reps for us and make an impact for sure, I'm excited.“
If Jefferson can make half of the contribution that Rodriguez made last season, it would not be a surprise to see him in at #1 in the depth chart next Monday. It’s getting closer and closer, but as fall camp wraps up, several questions are still lingering.