Gophers looking for running backs

Russell won't be coming back this fall

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota running back Gary Russell won't return to the team this year.

That leaves the Gophers without both of their 1,000-yard rushers from last season, since Laurence Maroney left a year early for the NFL. Russell, who would've been a junior, is not enrolled in classes for the fall semester, school spokesman Shane Sandersfeld confirmed Wednesday.

That means Russell is ineligible for this season, and the chance of him playing college football again anywhere is slim. Academic failure forcel Russell to drop out of the university last spring, and he attended a local community college to try to better his grades.


Maroney and Russell each surpassed 1,000 yards rushing last year, making Minnesota the first school in NCAA history to have two 1,000-yard rushers in three consecutive seasons. Russell ran for 1,130 yards on 186 carries with 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Amir Pinnix, who rushed for 476 yards and averaged 6 yards per carry last year, leads the depth chart at running back, with Brylee Callender and Jay Thomas expected to compete for time.

The Gophers are scheduled to begin practice on Aug. 4.

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