After a report surfaced this morning, the Missouri athletic department confirmed Monday afternoon that junior tailback Damien Nash has left the team. After a disappointing season for the Tigers, losing next year's potential starter is not the way they had hoped to begin the off season.
"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," coach Gary Pinkel said in a release. "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."
Nash told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday morning that he was leaving the team but declined to give an explanation. Once considered one of the best running backs to come out of the St. Louis area in years, Nash finished his Missouri career quietly, racking up just 62 yards on 24 carries in his final two games.
The season was an up and down one for Nash. After starting the year strong with 126 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas State, Nash struggled to find consistency the rest of the way. After managing 89 yards on 18 carries against Oklahoma State on Oct. 23, Nash was suspended for the following game after he questioned the Tigers' play calling to the media.
The emergence of freshman Marcus Woods against Iowa State on Saturday – Woods had 81 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Nash had 26 on 12 – may have brought Nash's starting role into question next season. Without Nash, sophomores-to-be Woods and Tony Temple, along with redshirt freshman Jimmy Jackson, will be in the mix for the starting job.