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Greg Nwoko’s football career likely over, Rodriguez says

Greg Nwoko was a happy Wildcat during football media day in August 2010. Photo by Mark Evans, TucsonCitizen.com

Arizona fifth-year senior Greg Nwoko, given a new way in which to potentially contribute this fall, likely won’t ever get a chance to play again for the Wildcats.

Nwoko, who was deemed out for the season on last week’s official injury update, would seemingly qualify for a rare sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA because he will have missed two full seasons due to injury.

But coach Rich Rodriguez said Nwoko’s hip injury, suffered in practice during fall camp, makes it appear that “his football career is probably finished.”

“He’s a great young man. You feel bad for him,” Rodriguez said.

“Greg has done everything we’ve asked in the program. He’s going to get his degree. And he’s there every day. He still comes out to practice every day in his shorts and T-shirt.”

Nwoko (6-1, 237) provided Arizona with a big-back option in the running game in 2009 and 2010 after redshirting in his first year on campus. He rushed 133 times for 543 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons, also catching 24 passes for 225 yards, before suffering an ACL injury in spring 2011.

With ample depth at running back, the new coaching staff considered moving him to linebacker when he came back healthy this spring, but Rodriguez didn’t make the change then, saying he figuring it might not be fair to do so for his final season. After a couple of linebacker defections over the summer, though, Rodriguez decided he needed Nwoko to give defense a try.

He was injured soon after switching positions.

“We were really excited about him moving over there and giving us a big body at linebacker,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

“It looks like his football career is probably finished, but whatever walk of life he goes into, Greg Nwoko will have success.”

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