Just over a month into Chuck Martin's tenure, the Miami RedHawks are down a running back. Jamire Westbrook, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, announced his transfer to Cincinnati on Twitter yesterday:
Officially a Bearcat now 👌— Jamire Westbrook (@Jw_GQ5) January 14, 2014
Westbrook was a respected recruit coming out of Kings Mills Kings High School, where he was named the Cincinnati Enquirer's Division II Player of the Year his senior season after racking up 5,000 all-purpose yards in his career. He chose Miami over Cincinnati, Kansas, Ohio, and Toledo, and he was one of the few standout signings of Don Treadwell's recruiting career.
Unfortunately, even though he had plenty of opportunities to prove himself, he never lived up to the hype in his time at Miami. Whatever the possible nepotism of Treadwell effectively making his son Spencer the starting running back, the fact remains that Westbrook was unable to impress enough either in games or on the practice field to really make that choice questionable. Of course, it doesn't help that he was behind a sieve of an offensive line in his two years in Oxford, nor does it help that he suffered a season-ending knee injury in week three this year.
So why is Westbrook leaving? Here's my uninformed speculation: he didn't feel he'd fit into Chuck Martin's plans. Spencer Treadwell, last season's leading rusher, returns to the RedHawks next season (or at least hasn't announced plans to transfer); the team has a glut of freshman/sophomore level running backs for Martin to evaluate; and Paul Moses, a Toledo Central Catholic product who chose Miami over Nebraska, joins the team next season. Transferring to Cincinnati (1) gives Westbrook two years to heal his knee -- last season (which will presumably result in a retroactive medical redshirt) and his year sitting out next season -- and (2) allows him to stay near home in a program he's already familiar with.
So, to sum up, while the loss of Westbrook looks bad on paper, Miami will have plenty of running backs to choose from next year. And Westbrook will be moving to a situation that keeps him close to home and possibly opens up more opportunity for him.