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Kansas RB Pooka Williams opts out of season to be closer to family

Sam Cooper
·2 min read
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Kansas’ best player won’t play again in 2020.

Pooka Williams, a 1,000-yard rusher in both 2018 and 2019, announced Monday that he has decided to opt out of the rest of the 2020 season. Williams said he wants to be closer to his mother and family back in Louisiana.

“Family and health are the most important things to me. Right now, I need to be with my mother, who is battling health issues,” Williams wrote. “I want to thank Coach [Les] Miles and everyone within the Kansas football program for their commitment and understanding.”

Williams, a junior, did not specify whether he plans to return to Kansas in the future. He concluded his message by saying he “believes in the direction of Kansas football and what Coach Miles is building.”

In four games this season, Williams rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown over the weekend against West Virginia.

During his time with the Jayhawks, Williams rushed for 2,382 yards and 12 touchdowns on 415 carries. He also caught 66 passes for 534 yards and four scores.

“We fully support Pooka’s decision to opt out of the season to be able to support his mother in person during this difficult time as she fights this battle,” Miles said in a statement. “I’m proud of him for making this tremendous sacrifice to support his family, and do what he believes is right. We will be there for Pooka and his family in every way possible moving forward.”

The Jayhawks dropped to 0-4 with the 38-17 loss to WVU on Saturday. KU made the trip to Morgantown without Miles, who was tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

Miles is hoping to be back on the sideline for his team’s next game at No. 20 Kansas State on Saturday. Kansas State is 3-1 with a 3-0 mark in Big 12 play and is tied with Iowa State for first place in the conference standings.

Evan Staley is unable to make the tackle on Jayhawks running back Pooka Williams Jr. as Williams Jr. scored on a 92-yard kickoff return.
Kansas running back Pooka Williams has decided to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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