Kansas loses top two RBs Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox to season-ending injuries

Kansas Jayhawks running back Brandon Bourbon (25) slips past Baylor Bears cornerback Ryan Reid for a touchdown in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, in Lawrence, Kan. Baylor won 59-14. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Kansas started the calendar year with four potentially great options at running back — Darrian Miller, four-star recruit Traevohn Wrench, Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox — now none of those four will see the field for the Jayhawks this season.

The latter two, Bourbon and Cox, both suffered season-ending injuries in the past two days. Bourbon, who was expected to be the starter, tore his ACL during a scrimmage on Sunday and Cox tore his Achilles during a non-contact drill on Monday.

“I feel bad for both Brandon and Taylor as they were looking forward to the opportunity to be the replacement for James Sims,” coach Charlie Weis said in a statement. “I sat down with each of them individually and talked through their options and was happy that they chose to further their education, while attempting to play again next year if things work out.”

Both players have already used their redshirt seasons, but will apply for a sixth year of eligibility with a medical hardship waiver.

Earlier this year, Wrench, who was the biggest recruit in the Kansas signing class, failed to qualify academically and enrolled at Butler Community College, and Miller left the program in June citing “personal reasons.”

Bourbon has suffered injuries throughout his Kansas career. During the spring of his redshirt freshman season in 2010, he suffered a foot injury. He suffered a season-ending leg injury after playing eight games in 2011. Last season, he had 41 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 102 yards.

Cox, a junior college transfer from College of the Siskiyou (Calif.), played in just two games last season before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury. In 2012, he played in 12 games and rushed 91 times for 464 yards and three scores.

Kansas will look to true freshman Corey Avery and junior college transfer De’Andre Mann to hold down the running back spot. Weis also said true freshman safety Joe Dineen would move to running back to provide depth.

“While De’Andre and Corey lack experience on the Division I level, they both have had excellent camps,” Weis said. “The team is well-aware of this situation and is excited to make the run game successful.”

Last season, Kansas relied on its running game for offense while it’s passing game struggled most of the season. The running game ranked 77th in rushing offense with just 154.1 yards per game and accounted for 12 of the team’s 22 total touchdowns.

For more Kansas news, visit JayhawkSlant.com.

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