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Donnel Pumphrey to Join SDSU Special Teams as Punt Returner

SDSU is earmarked as one of the Group of Five teams that is seeking a major bowl bid, and Donnel Pumphrey is on the short list of difference makers to help make this a reality.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State kicks off its 94th season on Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium against New Hampshire. This will be the first meeting for Aztecs and Wildcats. Aztecs are 40-16-4 all time when the season opener is at home, and this game is not projected to be close.

Senior running back and the Mountain West Connection's No. 1 rated conference football player,Donnel Pumphrey, is now listed as the first-team punt returner, ahead of USA Today All-American senior cornerback Damontae Kazee and junior transfer Quest Truxton.

Playing him on special teams has raised a few eyebrows. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, SDSU Head Coach Rocky Long said last week, "Someone might take a shot at him. Who knows? They'd take a 15-yard penalty or a targeting foul and get kicked out of the game. They might do that. . . I don't think anybody's unethical enough to tell a kid to just go down there and blast a guy."

We certainly hope not, Coach Long.

Pumphrey is the nation's leading rusher, and his activity during spring and fall drills was greatly restricted for the sake of avoiding injury.

SDSU is earmarked as one of the Group of Five teams that is seeking a major bowl bid, and Donnel Pumphrey is on the short list of difference makers to help make this a reality. So far Coach Long has steered the Aztecs in the right direction, and whether Pumphrey's punt returner status is short or long term, Aztec fans will hope that he continues to excel and remain healthy.