The top-rated juco running back in the nation — and prize of Kansas’ 2017 recruiting class — has played his final college football game.
Octavius Matthews, a 6-foot-1 junior from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College, will not play for the Jayhawks because of an undisclosed ailment, KU coach David Beaty announced on his “Hawk Talk” radio show Monday night.
“Octavius Matthews will not be with us this year, and as a matter of fact, he won’t be with us at all in terms of on the field,” Beaty said, “but he certainly will be part of our program as we move forward.”
Earlier in August, Beaty said Matthews was being held out while waiting on the results of medical tests.
Matthews, who was a juco teammate of KU quarterback Peyton Bender, picked KU over Purdue and Tennessee after decommitting from Auburn in January. He was a surprise addition to the class on Feb. 1’s signing day.
“I would consider this one of the biggest victories that we’ve had in this class,” Beaty said on signing day, “because we had to battle some big-time places to get him all the way to the end.”
Matthews ranked as Rivals’ top juco running back and its 61st player overall.
Beaty also announced Monday that tight end Kenyon Tabor, offensive lineman Cam Durley and running back Denzell Evans would miss the season because of injuries. Tabor, a Derby, Kan., product, had impressed Beaty in early practices.
“He is going to be a guy that’s going to go ahead and take the redshirt this year, but we think he’ll be back full speed and ready to go for next year,” Beaty said. “I think it’ll do wonders to help him, because he’s already a big dude, and in a year, I can see him being a giant.
“That year will pay dividends, although we really wish we had him, because we think he can play right now. But he’s just not physically able to.”