Less than a week after earning offensive player of the game honors in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl for the Gophers, running back Ky Thomas announced Monday on Twitter that he has entered his name into the transfer portal.

"I want to thank my coaches, teammates and The University Of Minnesota. I have entered the transfer portal,'' Thomas tweeted.

Thomas finished his redshirt freshman season as the Gophers' leading rusher, carrying 166 times for 824 yards and six touchdowns. He capped the season by rushing 21 times for 144 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota's 18-6 victory over West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday in Phoenix.

Thomas and true freshman Mar'Keise Irving formed a solid 1-2 punch for the Gophers in 2021 after Mohamed Ibrahim, Trey Potts and Bryce Williams were lost for the season because of injuries and Cam Wiley entered the transfer portal.

Thomas' departure will take some depth away from the Gophers running back group. Irving is the leading returnee among healthy backs with 699 yards and four TDs on 133 carries.

Ibrahim, lost in the season opener because of an Achilles' tendon injury, will return for a sixth season in 2022 and try to regain the form that made him the 2020 Big Ten running back of the year. Potts, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Oct. 2 at Purdue and missed the remainder of the season, returned to the sideline for the bowl game and announced his intentions to play in 2022. He had rushed for 552 yards and six TDs before his injury.

In addition, the Gophers will have incoming freshman Zach Evans, who rushed for 1,957 yards and 26 touchdowns for Rockwall-Heath (Texas) High School.

After the bowl game, Thomas credited his teammates for helping him succeed.

"As far as all the older guys who have been through this, just learning from them,'' he said. "They guided me this way, told me how it is with the big gap between Wisconsin and this game. They just taught me how to prepare, so that's one thing I'm going to take forward.''

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck in his postgame news conference Tuesday spoke of the challenges at running back his team faced.

"Who would have thought beginning of the year — if you would have bet Ky Thomas would have been the bowl game MVP, you're probably not working anymore,'' Fleck said. "That's no disrespect to Ky, but when you look at our backfield of seven tailbacks with scholarships, not many people in the country have seven scholarship tailbacks, and we do, and we needed every single one of them. In fact, we needed to move a linebacker over to running back.''

Thomas spent the 2020 season as a redshirt after suffering a shoulder injury, and used that time to learn from those ahead of him on the depth chart.

"I wasn't practicing at all, so I got to sit back and watch,'' Thomas said in a December news conference. "I really got to learn the playbook. … I was able to focus on the game itself, watching Mo, watching Trey, watching the other guys.''

After Ibrahim was lost in the season opener, Gophers running backs coach Kenni Burns got his young backs ready to contribute.

"He was telling me all during fall camp that me and Buck [Irving] were going to get our opportunities and our chance would come,'' Thomas said in December. "When my chance came up, it was a next-person mentality, so I was already ready.''

Thomas was a three-star recruit out of Topeka, Kan., in 2020. He received scholarship offers from four other FBS programs: Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State and Louisiana Tech.

Adim-Madumere in portal

Gophers redshirt sophomore wide receiver Nnamdi Adim-Madumere announced on Twitter that he's entered his name into the transfer portal. The Fort Worth, Texas, native did not see game action in three seasons with the Gophers.