Minnesota running back Shannon Brooks, the team’s third-leading rusher last season, suffered a lower leg injury during conditioning drills that will sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Brooks, who was preparing for his senior season with the Gophers, suffered the non-contact injury just a few days before the start of spring practice.
He plans to redshirt the 2018 season and return as a fifth-year senior in 2019.
“That’s unfortunate and obviously that is not the news that everyone wants to hear, not what I want to hear, but I will tell you what, he’s been incredibly positive about it,” Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck told the Star-Tribune. “He sees it as kind of a blessing in his own eyes in how he can continue to mature and how he can get better and obviously be back in 2019.”
Brooks played in just six games in 2017, gaining 369 yards on 79 carries while scoring five touchdowns. He rushed for 116 yards in a 31-17 loss to Purdue on Oct. 7, but carried the ball just 14 times the rest of the season.
Brooks led the team in rushing as a true freshman in 2015, when he ran for 709 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per attempts. Brooks had 650 rushing yards in 2016, but fellow sophomore Rodney Smith became the primary ball-carrier that season when he rushed for 1,158 yards.
Smith led the team in rushing again in 2017 with 977 yards, and he will be the Gophers’ only runner in 2018 with significant experience.
The runner with most experience after Smith will be Jonathan Femi-Cole, who carried nine times for 42 yards in 2017.
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