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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 20, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Will Austin Seferian-Jenkins play basketball?

For my story for today’s paper, I wrote about Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who as detailed had one of the best seasons ever for a tight end at UW, let alone for a true freshman.

Seferian-Jenkins talks frankly in the story about the dropped pass at Oregon State and says he’s almost glad it happened for all it taught him about detailing with adversity.

The story also briefly touches on another topic — whether Seferian-Jenkins will play basketball once the football season is over.

The 6-6, 258-pounder averaged 19 points and eight rebounds a game at Gig Harbor and has said from the day he signed his letter-of-intent last February that he would consider walking on to the hoops team.

He reiterated that thought in an interview earlier this month.

As quoted in the story, he said “I’m talking about it, so it’s pretty serious. But all my focus right now is on playing against Baylor.”

Seferian-Jenkins indicated he has talked to basketball coach Lorenzo Romar and when he’s found a few minutes he’s been “just hooping, just shooting, just playing here and there.”

What he hasn’t done yet, though, is talk with UW coach Steve Sarkisian, and that will be the key meeting that has to take place before Seferian-Jenkins would play basketball.

As a scholarship football player, Seferian-Jenkins would be expected to make football his first priority, even in the off-season, and it would have to be determined if he could balance those responsbilities (such as off-season workouts) with playing basketball.

Sarkisian said he doesn’t really have a set policy either way.

“If guys are good enough to do stuff like that, then I don’t have a problem with it,” Sarkisian said. “It’s just got to be right, and I’ve got to make sure he’s in the right frame of mind. We’ll deal with that after the bowl game.”

Seferian-Jenkins likewise said “we’re just going to talk about that after the bowl game. The bowl game is the most important thing right now.”

No football player has also played basketball since Nate Robinson following the 2002 season.

Robinson, though, was kind of a different case, recruited with the full understanding that he would play both sports. He was the only member of the football Class of 2002 who didn’t redshirt, in part because the football coaches knew there was a chance that once he started playing basketball, he might never come back to football — which is exactly what happened, as Robinson decided to devote all his time to basketball and switch to a basketball scholarship following the 2002-03 hoops season.

The only other football player in the last 15 years to try it is receiver Charles Frederick, who was a top 50 basketball recruit and who also came to UW with the basic understanding he’d play both. He spent some time with the basketball time in the 2001-02 after his freshman year of football, but then decided to devote himself to football.

In another era, Reggie Rogers handled both sports at a pretty high level in the mid-80s. But that was before the seasons overlapped as much as they did, and before off-season training became quite as structured as it is now.

Since Robinson, a few football players have thought about playing basketball but none have actually done it. Among those is receiver Devin Aguilar, who had basketball scholarship offers from the likes of Iowa State and Utah, among others. Aguilar, though, said a few years ago he ultimately decided that for his long-term future, it was best that he concentrate on one sport at UW.

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