San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny Will Not Be Returning Kicks
The preseason special teams player of the year might not play special teams.
Penny will only return kicks against certain teams.
San Diego State has had one of the most dynamic special teams the past few years and that was largely due to Rashaad Penny who has been the primary kick returner for the Aztecs the past three seasons.
Penny has scored five career touchdowns returning kickoffs and also has earned back-to-back special teams player of the year awards from the conference. Penny is also the preseason player of the year at special teams, and a first-team selection at running back during Mountain West media days.
Something has to give and Penny told Jeff Caves of KTIK that he no longer plans to return kicks, but there could be an exception when the Aztecs face Stanford and Boise State. Ultimately, Penny said he will do what the coaches ask of him in the return game.
This is big news because there was no mention of Penny moving away from returning kicks during spring football, but this also makes sense. Penny is now the full time starting running back taking over for Donnel Pumphrey and the logic is likely that those few extra touches per game could hurt his performance as a running back.
There is a solid replacement behind Penny if the decision has been made that he will not be returning kicks, and that will be sophomore Juwan Washington.
Last year, he handled 10 kickoff returns while averaging 29.3 yards per touch and also scored one time. Compare that to Penny who scored twice and averaged 31.2 per return and the difference is negligible.