The Missouri football team’s lost season took another hit Monday when leading rusher Damien Nash quit the team.
The team announced Nash’s decision in a release which included a statement from coach Gary Pinkel.
“We certainly had hoped to have Damien with us next year, and while it’s disappointing to see him go, we’ll do everything we can to assist him with his future plans,” Pinkel said in the release.
Nash could not be reached, but his decision was confirmed in a story on stltoday.com, the Web site of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which reported that Nash did not want to comment about the situation.
After Missouri’s loss to Oklahoma State, Nash criticized the offensive play-calling and was suspended the following week against Nebraska. Once he returned, Nash split carries with redshirt freshman Marcus Woods.
Nash, a junior from St. Louis, rushed for 792 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Tigers this season. His production slipped in recent weeks, though, and he gained only 26 yards against Iowa State on Saturday and 38 yards against Kansas on Nov. 20.
To play Division I football next season, Nash would need to receive a release from Missouri; otherwise, he would have to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules. He can play next season without a release for a Division I-AA school.
While Pinkel’s comments in the release did not say the Tigers would grant Nash a release, they seemed to show a willingness to help.
“He’s indicated a desire to explore professional opportunities, and we will begin helping him with that process right now, as well as other potential options,” Pinkel said.
Before attending Missouri, Nash played at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College where he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament his sophomore season. After next season, Nash could apply for a medical hardship season because that injury ended his season at Coffeyville.