Royce Freeman, Mel Kiper's No. 7 RB in draft, to sit out Vegas Bowl

Oregon running back Royce Freeman will not play against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, coach Mario Cristobal announced Thursday.

Freeman, who ran for 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns this year, finishes his career No. 7 all-time in FBS with 5,621 yards rushing. He is ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s No. 7-ranked draft-eligible running back.

Freeman is the latest high-profile player to sit out his team's bowl game to avoid the risk of injury with a potentially lucrative NFL career coming into focus.

Running backs Leonard Fournette (LSU) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) both opted not to play in bowl games last year and were both drafted in the first eight picks.

Florida State safety Derwin James, Texas safety DeShon Elliott and Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams also will not play in bowl games this year.