OSU running back says he'll return for senior season

Saturday, December 25th 2004, 11:17 am
By: News On 6

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Despite speculation that he ranks among the top juniors who could declare themselves eligible for the 2005 NFL draft, Oklahoma State running back Vernand Morency insists he'll be back as a Cowboy in the fall.

Morency, who will turn 25 in the fall, says he's still got things to accomplish at Oklahoma State.

``I have my mind set on something, and that's to get my degree,'' Morency said Friday after an OSU practice preparing for Wednesday's Alamo Bowl.

Morency has spoken of a pact he made with his mother that he would get that degree. He said it was hard on her the first time he faced a college-pro dilemma, when he signed to play baseball in the Colorado Rockies organization.

``It was very difficult,'' he said. ``She was sad. That's why I made a promise to her that I would come back and get it done.''

Morency, an education major, seems quite content postponing the paydays if it means making Mom happy.

``Money? I like to see happiness on my momma's face,'' he said. ``Education is very important to me, and it's important to my family.''

Morency is the nation's eighth-leading rusher, averaging 145.4 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. He seemed to wear down a bit late in the season and had swelling in his left knee. Coaches held him out of the Baylor game.

If Morency returns to OSU, he would be 26 when he enters the NFL draft, but Cowboys' coach Les Miles said those years spent away from football didn't take a toll on Morency.

``It's not like his body is worn out,'' Miles said. ``The thing is, if you get six or eight years in the NFL, that's phenomenal.''

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., considering juniors who could declare for the draft, has Morency ranked as the No. 17 junior and the third running back on that list. Kiper ranks Morency behind Memphis' DeAngelo Williams and Florida's Ciatrick Fason.