A non-contact “lower leg” injury has cost senior running back Shannon Brooks his season before it started. The injury occurred during the final days of conditioning leading into spring practice.
“That’s unfortunate and obviously that is not the news that everyone wants to hear, not what I want to hear, but I will tell you what, he’s been incredibly positive about it,’’ Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “He sees it as kind of a blessing in his own eyes in how he can continue to mature and how he can get better and obviously be back in 2019.’’
Brooks appeared in just six games in 2017, carrying 79 times for 369 yards and five touchdowns. He rushed 18 times for 116 yards in a 31-17 loss to Purdue on Oct. 7, but carried the ball just 14 times for the rest of the season after that. Brooks led the club with 709 rushing yards as a true freshman in 2015, then ceded the team lead to fellow sophomore Rodney Smith in 2016.
Brooks’s injury means Smith will be Minnesota’s only experienced runner in 2018. Smith led the club with 229 totes for 977 yards; the next closest returning runner is junior Jonathan Femi-Cole, who carried nine times for 42 yards on the year.
Brooks will use 2018 as a redshirt season and return as a fifth-year senior in 2019, Fleck said.