Arizona football loses Jacory Croskey-Merritt to Ole Miss, heating up on Damien Martinez recruiting trail

Oregon State v Arizona
Oregon State v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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Why Croskey-Merritt leaving isn't a big deal

RB. . . Grad transfer. player. JCM. Last year: 1,190 yards, 17 TD. Jacory Croskey-Merritt. Jacory Croskey-Merritt. 532

Jacory Croskey-Merritt
New Mexico v Boise State / Loren Orr/GettyImages

Here's the thing: some stats are "sticky". Good numbers for yardage, attempts, and receptions can generally be replicated on a yearly basis. On the other hand, touchdowns are not one of those sticky stats. On paper, bringing in a player who ran in 17 touchdowns last season in Croskey-Merritt is a huge addition, but there's no guarantee that he'll do it again.

There are other red flags that could be cause for concern. For starters, he simply doesn't have a great resume outside of last year, and he's never even played at the power-conference level — let alone in the ever-stacked SEC. He's only played at the FBS level for one year, and his sole near-1,200-yard season with perennial FBS bottom-feeder New Mexico was the first time he surpassed 500 rushing yards.

Before landing at New Mexico, Croskey-Merritt spent four seasons at FCS-level Alabama State where he was largely unproductive. He posted 186 yards and two touchdowns in his freshman year and 164 yards and two touchdowns in his sophomore year. His production jumped in his junior and senior years, but it was never anything overly special. He logged 433 yards and five touchdowns in Year 3 before capping his Alabama State career off with a 470-yard, four-score season.

Jacory Croskey-Merritt
Utah State v New Mexico / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

Croskey-Merritt would be facing a massive jump in the quality of competition even at Arizona against Big 12 opponents, and the SEC is a whole different ballgame. Ole Miss' backup from last season, Ulysses Bentley IV, is returning and the Rebels just picked up Logan Diggs from LSU via the transfer portal. There's no guarantee that his production will stay the same, or that he'll even get the starting nod.

Croskey-Merritt was lined up to start at Arizona — or at least be the RB1a and Conley the RB1b. Instead, he'll have to fight tooth and nail to see every snap after being lured in by the bright lights and glamour of playing football in the American Deep South. This just leaves more room on the roster for Martinez.

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