Kirkwood will not lose year of eligibility

Andrew Baker

After missing most of the 2010-11 season with a leg injury, Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood will not have that year counted against his eligibility, the University announced Wednesday.

The Big Ten has granted him a medical hardship waiver.

“This is great news for Donnell and for our football program,” head coach Jerry Kill said in a release. “We’re happy for him and we appreciate all those  who assisted in getting the waiver approved.”

Before being sidelined with the injury, Kirkwood played in four games in 2010 – his first season of eligibility – rushing for 107 yards on 27 carries with a 4.0 yards per carry average.

Kirkwood, who is from Delray Beach, Fla., was a rivals.com three-star recruit out of high school and turned down offers from Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Rutgers to play for the Gophers.