The 5-foot-7, soft-spoken receiver smiles when he’s asked about being more vocal as a fifth-year senior and offers simply: “Not very much.” He has nonetheless become a leader, his coaches say.
Words? Jarvis West speaks loud and clear with actions.
“Unbelievable,” was what coach Paul Rhoads could muster Saturday. “He caught it, he ran it, he returned it, he threw it.”
That was quite literal. West started Iowa State’s scoring with a 17-yard touchdown reception as the first quarter wound down Saturday and he continued it when he found open field on an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second.
A pitch to the elusive receiver in the backfield later allowed him to show off his arm. He reared back and fired a 29-yard touchdown strike to Allen Lazard.
All in all, a record-setting day. West became the first player in either FBS or FCS with a punt return, passing, and receiving touchdown in the same game since 2010 when Randall Cobb accomplished the feat. He’s only the third player in college football to do it since 1998.
“He is a very talented young athlete,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “He made a lot of people miss today. He caught quick throws, jumped around and got first-down yardage. He’s a very fine player.”
When all was said and done, West tallied a career-high eight receptions for 75 receiving yards. For perspective, West caught 15 passes for 105 yards last season while being hampered by an MCL injury.
Two games into his final season he’s already caught 11 passes for 90 yards.
“Jarvis is going to make some plays, I promise you that,” quarterback Sam Richardson said. “He’s a dude that is dynamic on and off the field. He’s a guy with a huge role as a leader in that [meeting] room, a guy with so much experience. I love the kid. He makes so many plays for us, and he’ll continue to do that this season.”
West ignited an offense that hadn’t scored in 58:50 of game action until he leaped in the end zone with 13 seconds to play in the opening quarter Saturday.
He will be the leader as the season progresses with the loss of receiver Quenton Bundrage to an ACL tear, and West knows he can take that role. West doesn’t need to use words if he can provide the actions he did Saturday.
“With [Bundrage] going down, we had to find another option and it was me today to step up and be a leader,” West said. “It can be me.”