Running back Shannon Brooks out for 2018 season

Brooks played in six games last season, where he had 383 rushing yards.

Running Back Shannon Brooks runs the ball on Sept. 30, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Image by Jack Rodgers

Running Back Shannon Brooks runs the ball on Sept. 30, 2017 at TCF Bank Stadium.

by Drew Cove

The running back unit for Minnesota got smaller Tuesday, about six months before the season starts.

Senior Shannon Brooks has a lower-leg injury and will miss the entire 2018 season, according to head coach P.J. Fleck.

“[It was] a non-contact injury,” Fleck said. “That’s unfortunate, obviously that’s not the news everyone wants to hear [and] not what I want to hear.”

Fleck did not specify the type of injury or what day it occurred.

Fleck said Brooks had a good attitude about the situation. Brooks will have surgery “shortly” and will return for 2019 after redshirting this season.

The Austell, Georgia native was injured at different points during the 2017 season. He missed six games, including the last four contests of the season.

His absence increased the time that went to fellow running backs Rodney Smith and Kobe McCrary. Smith was the No. 1 back, but McCrary got time filling in to give Smith more rest.

Brooks has rushed for over 1,700 yards in his time at Minnesota. He has 17 touchdowns in his career, with five of them coming in his six-game 2017 season. In addition to less games, Brooks got 4.7 yards per carry last season for 369 yards. 

Brooks was Minnesota’s leading rusher in his freshman season, 2015, with 709 yards.

Minnesota has a number of younger running backs on its roster, including five freshmen. The eldest running back besides Smith and Brooks is junior Jonathan Femi-Cole, who had 42 yards on nine attempts last season.