NFL hopeful RB Keaontay Ingram almost returned to USC after chat with Lincoln Riley, per report
Keaontay Ingram is in Indianapolis preparing for the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
The former USC running back officially declared for the Draft on Jan. 13, electing to forego his final year of eligibility after a breakout season for the Trojans. According to Ryan Kartje of The Los Angeles Times, Ingram almost decided the other way.
Ingram revealed that he met with new USC head coach Lincoln Riley to discuss a potential return, and Riley almost convinced him to stay in Los Angeles, but given his age it was in Ingram’s best interests to jump to the NFL.
“That’s a role I’ve been looking for since I’ve been in college football,” Ingram told @latimessports. "It was a pretty good talk.”
“But like I told [Riley], I’ll be 23 playing running back next year. Sometimes, you have to make a business decision.”
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) March 2, 2022
Ingram played just one season for the Trojans after coming over from Texas in the offseason, but he immediately made an impact on the ground. In 10 appearances, Ingram put up 911 yards and five scores on 156 carries (5.8 per carry) to lead the Trojans.
It was a career year for the Carthage, Texas, native and a perfect situation at USC. In his three-year (2018-20) career with the Longhorns, he rushed for 1,811 yards on 339 carries (5.3 average) with 11 touchdowns while hauling in 67 receptions for an additional 515 yards and six scores.
But the lifespan of NFL running backs in the modern era is getting shorter for most players, and Ingram likely got solid enough intel to feel like he’d shown enough to at least land on draft boards.
USC hit the transfer portal hard to reinforce the room in his absence, adding Travis Dye from Oregon and Austin Jones from Stanford. Dye led the Pac-12 in scrimmage yards last season and finished second in rushing yards. Hopefully this is a situation that can produce a best-case result for everyone.