Texas Tech running back Da’Leon Ward could miss the entire 2017 season with academic issues, Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported Wednesday.
“We’re kind of wait and see on him,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said, per the report. “I’m not sure he’ll be back for this season or not.”
Texas Tech’s second summer academic session ended last Friday. Kingsbury said that if Ward handles his academic issues, he could be back the first day of school. However, there is legitimate concern he may not be back by then.
Losing the rising sophomore would be an issue for the team. He led the Red Raiders last season with 428 rushing yards and is one of only two returning players who rushed for more than 200 yards last season.
However, Texas Tech added a pair of junior college transfers this offseason at running back — Desmond Nisby and Tre King. In addition, senior Justin Stockton is expected to take a featured role in 2017, Williams reporting that Kingsbury calls Stockton the No. 1 running back.
“Justin’s had a great, great fall camp,” Kingsbury said, per the report.
When asked what effect losing Ward’s absence has had on his team, Kingsbury was succinct.
“Not at all.”