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Report: Running back Chase Abbington leaves Mizzou football

The redshirt junior running back was a JUCO transfer who struggled to see the field for Mizzou

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Gabe DeArmond of first reported the news

Missouri would be left with five running backs on campus, although redshirt freshman Marquise Doherty is practicing almost exclusively with Mizzou baseball this spring. JUCO transfer Nate Strong out of East St. Louis and Damarea Crockett from Little Rock, Arkansas were part of the incoming 2016 recruiting class.

In the running back Spring Preview, I wondered if Abbington would be able to take on an increased role being Missouri's largest back at 6'2 and close to 215 pounds. Many fans speculated new head coach Barry Odom and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel would emphasize bigger backs in a run-heavy offense this fall. Redshirt freshman Ryan Williams, listed at 6'0, is the biggest back on currently campus, while the 6'1, 210 lbs Strong will arrive later this summer.

Junior Ish Witter was the starter for most of last season after Russell Hansbrough struggled with injuries. Witter had 126 carries for 518 yards and 1 TD. Chase Abbington had just six carries for 39 yards in game action.

As Pete Scantlebury noted on twitter, nearly half of the recruits from 2012/2013 will not finish their careers as Tigers.

Abbington's departure would mean Missouri has 85 active players on scholarship, the NCAA limit. There's a question if Mizzou's roster attrition is over after the news that redshirt junior offensive lineman Clay Rhodes was not at practice last Thursday and Andy Bauer's retirement from football due to hip injuries.

Missouri held the first scrimmage of spring practice on Saturday and resumes practice tomorrow. We'll be in attendance and have an opportunity to ask new running back coach Cornell Ford and the remaining running backs about this development.