SEATTLE – Overlooked in Washington’s loss to USC was a flash of balletic movement from tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Early in the third quarter, with quarterback Keith Price again in a desperate scramble, Seferian-Jenkins trickled across the field with a fleeing Price. Price flipped him the ball just before being taken down. Seferian-Jenkins leaped, stuck up his left arm, stuck down his left toes and cradled the pass in. It was a whopping gain of 6 yards.
But, it was also a display of the superior talent that has Seferian-Jenkins rapidly moving up on the Washington record lists.
Midway through his true sophomore season, Seferian-Jenkins has 70 career receptions, which is the fourth-most by a Washington tight end. After just 19 games, he’s 25 catches short of Mark Bruener’s school-record for a career of 95. If he matches the 29 he had in the first half this season, he will break the record in just two seasons.
Seferian-Jenkins’ personal high of nine catches in the opener against San Diego State tied for the third-most by a tight end in Washington history. The record is 10, done twice by Dave Williams in the 1960s.
Jerramy Stevens set the record for catches in a single-season by a Washington tight end when he pulled in 48 passes in 2000. Seferian-Jenkins’ freshman season total of 41 catches was the fourth-best in school history. Again, if he matches his first-half success, which came as the passing game sputtered, he’ll own that record at the end of the season, too.
All of which leaves Seferian-Jenkins unconcerned about records and dissatisfied with his play.
“I can get better in every phase of the game,’’ he said. “I think my run blocking, my receiving; everything needs to improve. I’m nowhere near where I should be, where I can be or where I want to be.’’
Despite that self-assessment, he’s on the midseason list for the John Mackey Award, which goes to college football’s best tight end. He’s second in the country among tight ends in receptions, trailing Ball State’s Zane Fakes by one catch.
The list of escalating numbers is long. Seferian-Jenkins says he hasn’t noticed.
“All I know is that we lost against USC and we are playing Arizona this week,’’ he said. “I really don’t care about my numbers or anything like that, or records. No disrespect to any of the people that have the records or anything like that. I just worry about playing, and if records come, records come; if numbers come, numbers come.’’
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Seferian-Jenkins is maturing daily. He also says he’s unsure if Seferian-Jenkins will play basketball this season.
“We’ll deal with it at the end of the season and we’ll sit down and talk about it and what it means for him and for us and the basketball team,” Sarkisian said. “(I) kind of have to assess at the end of it all.’’
Seferian-Jenkins – who averaged 1.1 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game in 7.2 minutes per game last basketball season for the Huskies – said he has not thought about the team yet. Men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar said the decision is up to Seferian-Jenkins and Sarkisian.
For now, football is working fine. Just look at the numbers.
Sarkisian said Thursday offensive lineman Ben Riva, who has been out since fracturing his forearm in the opener, will be a “game-time” decision. Riva dressed last week versus USC, but did not play. … Sarkisian also said there was no other personnel news, seeming to indicate linebacker/safety Shaq Thompson, who was injured against USC, will be able to play Saturday.todd.dybas@ thenewstribune.com @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports