Baylor RB Johnny Jefferson will miss the 2016 season

(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

Baylor will be without one its top running backs for the entire 2016 season.

Bears coach Jim Grobe announced Friday that Johnny Jefferson has decided to take “some time away from school.”

“Johnny, while still a member of this team, in addition to healing recent injuries is taking some time away from school to deal with some personal issues and hopefully will rejoin the program for spring semester,” Grobe said in a statement.

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Jefferson, a redshirt junior, was second on the team with 1,000 yards rushing in 2015, including 299 yards and three scores in Baylor’s Russell Athletic Bowl victory over North Carolina. Overall, Jefferson rushed for eight touchdowns on the season. He also had 524 yards and six scores in 2014 as a redshirt freshman.

Jefferson missed Baylor’s season opener against Northwestern State and was not expected to suit up Saturday against SMU. Jefferson had been dealing with injuries to his foot and ribs, Grobe told reporters earlier this week.

Last month, Grobe said Jefferson hurt his ribs in a car accident while the foot ailment stemmed from getting stepped on during a preseason practice.

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Even without Jefferson, the Bears have a nice stable of running backs to work with, led by Shock Linwood. Linwood has combined for 3,462 yards and 34 yards over the past three seasons and led the team with 100 yards on just nine carries in the win over Northwestern State. Sophomore Terence Williams (72 yards and 2 TDs on 11 carries) and redshirt freshman JaMycal Hasty (68 yards on 7 carries) also saw significant action in the opener.

The Bears host SMU Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. SMU opened its season with a 34-21 win over North Texas.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!