Crawford elects to transfer from KU program

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Kansas tailback Jocques Crawford will leave the Jayhawk program to transfer to a lower division of college football.

"Jocques was looking for an opportunity to get more playing time," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "We support his decision and wish him well."

Crawford led all junior-college rushers in 2007 with 1,935 yards and 19 touchdowns while playing at Cisco (Texas) Junior College. He was named the National Junior College Athletic Association national offensive player of the year during that season.

Before beginning play for the Jayhawks last season, Crawford predicted he would rush for 2,000 yards. He fell far short of that total with 232 yards on 62 carries last season and four touchdowns. Jake Sharp eventually won the starting job as the 2008 season went on as Crawford accounted for only 11 carries in the Jayhawks' final five games.

Crawford was suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules midway through spring practice. He was kept out of the Jayhawks' spring game on April 11 and was never reinstated during spring practice.

His loss could pose potential depth problems for Kansas. Sharp led the team with 186 carries, but accounted for only 42 percent of the Jayhawks' 440 total carries last season. Sharp averaged 14.3 carries per game.

Because of his size, it would be hard to expect Sharp to go much higher than 17-18 carries per game. That will provide players like Rell Lewis, Toben Opurum, Deshaun Sands and junior college transfer Daniel Porter.

Lewis, a converted wide receiver, was the most impressive running back for the Jayhawks in spring practice. Lewis rushed for a game-high 66 yards in the spring game.

And Opurum, freshman from Plano, Texas, has been one of the revelations of informal team preseason practices. He has been favorably compared to former Kansas running back Brandon McAnderson, a bullish back who rushed for 1,125 yards on the Kansas team that won the 2008 Orange Bowl.

And DeShaun Sands' family is well known to Kansas fans, considering his father, Tony, ranks second in the school's history in rushing yards.

As mentioned here earlier this week, the featured running back is vanishing across the Big 12. It means there will be ample chance for playing time for somebody in Kansas' backfield -- particularly after Crawford's departure.