Gophers running back Berkley Edwards and wide receiver Desmond Gant are leaving the program, along with cornerback Craig James, the Star Tribune has learned.
James is looking to transfer closer to his home in Edwardsville, Ill., and could land at Illinois State. Gant is seeking more playing time, and also might transfer to Illinois State.
Edwards hasn't ruled out the possibility of staying at Minnesota to run track, his father Stan Edwards said. The younger Edwards, one of the Big Ten's fastest sprinters, also could transfer to another school to compete in both track and football. He indicated to coach Tracy Claeys that he wants to pursue track full-time.
The 5-9, 195-pound Edwards was a three-star recruit coming out of Chelsea, Mich., in 2013, but redshirted that fall after spraining an ankle in training camp. In 2014, while Dave Cobb set a new Gophers single-season rushing record, Edwards played in 12 games, rushing 30 times for 140 yards
This year, as a sophomore, Edwards played in just two games, rushing five times for 29 yards. Two freshmen, Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith, handled the bulk of the Gophers' carries. The coaching staff felt Brooks and Smith were ahead of Edwards as rushers, as well as receivers out of the backfield.
Stan Edwards, who played running back at Michigan and then for six years in the NFL, said he feels like the Gophers coaches who recruited Berkley were dishonest.
"This has nothing to do with playing time," Stan Edwards said. "This is about what people promised. I told them, 'If Berkley isn't playing, I want to know why.' They told me they would tell me, and they didn't."
In response, Gophers spokesman Paul Rovnak said, "The coaching staff communicates directly with the players regarding playing time and football-related matters."