Auburn, Ala.--Big sophomore running back Kamryn Pettway said he didn't surprise himself this year when he ran for a team-high 1,123 yards and scored seven touchdowns in just nine games for the Auburn Tigers, but he didn't feel like his job was done quite yet on the Plains. Despite his big numbers and impressive physical stature in the backfield, Pettway said for him there's still more work left to be done before he's ready to call his time at Auburn done.
“Yes it was a tough decision, but at the end of the day I want to leave Auburn with a degree," Pettway said. "I love this place. Coming back was not a bad idea for me."
Saying that his degree was the first order of business, Pettway said having a full and healthy season was something that's really important to him. That could mean moving up even more on the minds of NFL teams next season. Already impressing guys like ESPN's Mel Kiper, the big back said that only makes him want to work even harder to get the job done.
“Hearing that praise made me feel good about myself and made me feel like if I come back I can do even more than that, be better than that," he said. "“It was nice to be in that predicament, being able to choose if I leave or stay. But like I said, I think coming will be the best option for me.”
With his decision behind him Pettway's focus now shifts to the Sugar Bowl and facing the 10-2 Oklahoma Sooners. Part of an offense that was very good during a six-game winning streak when quarterback Sean White was also healthy and playing well, Pettway said being back to full speed along with White and Kerryon Johnson has the offense feeling much different than the way they ended the year.
“It’s a different vibe we have going right now," Pettway said. "We know everybody is healthy. Everybody is moving around and flying around. We feel good going into the bowl game.”
Saying he's "100 percent" and ready to go, Pettway admitted the injury to his quad that he suffered in the win over Vanderbilt was something that lingered for a long time. Working his way back to full speed, he said that only came on Wednesday when he stepped back on the practice field for the first time since Iron Bowl week.
Once he knew he was back Pettway said he only had one thing on his mind.
“I thought ‘oh…it’s time now’.”