OU running back Kennedy Brooks will not participate in the Sooners’ 2020 season, according to a report from The Athletic.
Brooks would be the first OU player to opt out from playing this year. His decision comes less than four weeks before OU’s season opener against Missouri State on Sept. 12.
Brooks is eligible to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Although, OU is allowing players to opt out during the COVID-19 pandemic without it impacting their team standing or athletic financial aid.
Brooks was the Sooners’ second-leading rusher behind quarterback Jalen Hurts last season. He’s recorded 2,067 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns since 2018.
OU’s depth at running back already took a massive hit when Trey Sermon transferred to Ohio State over the offseason. It is also expected Rhamondre Stevenson will sit out a substantial part of the upcoming season because of a suspension from last year.
Stevenson, a senior, rushed for 515 yards and six touchdowns during his debut OU season in 2019. OU is still trying to determine the duration of his suspension, coach Lincoln Riley confirmed Saturday.
"No clarification on that," Riley said. "It’s being discussed. I understand why it’s been on the back burner a little bit with trying to figure out how the season is going to unfold. It’s being discussed because obviously that world has been changing and has changed in so many different ways. Really, kind of an archaic rule in college football.
"I know they’re working on it. I also know the reduction of the schedule is also being discussed and how it pertains. But I don’t have any answers for that right now."
OU’s remaining scholarship running backs include TJ Pledger, Marcus Major and Seth McGowan.
Pledger is the most experienced of the three. The Pacoima, California, native has played in 21 games, rushing for 244 yards and one touchdown over two seasons.
Major missed most of the 2019 season due to injury. The Oklahoma City native appeared in three games and will enter 2020 as a redshirt freshman.
McGowan is a true freshman. He signed with the Sooners as a consensus four-star prospect out of Dallas Mesquite High School. He chose OU over offers from Alabama, Georgia and LSU, among others.