University of Kansas

KU football’s leading rusher no longer with team, coach Les Miles says

The Kansas football team will move forward without running back Khalil Herbert on the roster.

Coach Les Miles confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Herbert had withdrawn from the team.

“We would like to wish Khalil Herbert and his family well moving forward,” Miles said in a statement. “With that said, Khalil is no longer a member of our football program and will not participate in any football activities.”

It’s a big loss. Herbert leads KU in rushing with 384 yards and also was averaging 8.9 per carry.

Herbert sat out Saturday’s 51-14 loss to TCU for “personal reasons,” according to KU, with Miles hinting afterward that the running back could be pursuing a four-game redshirt and subsequent graduate transfer away from the school.

Miles said earlier this week that he spoke with Herbert about his situation Friday night before the team’s game in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It’s really his business,” Miles said, “and it’s something that I’m not going to comment on.”

Herbert’s breakout game this season was in KU’s 48-24 road victory over Boston College when he had 11 carries for 187 yards with a touchdown. The next contest — when the Jayhawks fell 29-24 at home to West Virginia — Herbert had just seven carries for 27 yards.

That would be his final game as a Jayhawk.

Herbert — a 5-9, 205-pound senior from Coral Gables, Florida — ends his KU career 16th on the team’s all-time list with 1,735 rushing yards.

Pooka Williams and Velton Gardner are now the team’s top running-back options with Dom Williams also likely to redshirt this season.

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.