The Kentucky Wildcats are losing running back Mikel Horton.
The junior running back is leaving the program to pursue a transfer, according to KSR’s Matt Jones.
Sources tell KSR that UK RB Mikel Horton is transferring from the program— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 28, 2016
A UK spokesman has since confirmed Horton has left the team.
This move has been brewing for several weeks now after true freshman running back Benny Snell essentially took Horton’s spot as the third-string power back behind Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp.
During UK’s Week 3 win over New Mexico State, Horton was seen visibly frustrated after the game was over. He got just three carries for 12 yards in that game, and those are his only touches this season.
While you hate to see a guy leave in the middle of a season, this will give Horton a chance to find another program to finish his career at. He simply wasn’t going to be a factor here this season, and may not in 2017 if both Williams and Snell are back along with Sihiem King.
Horton has totaled 624 yards and five touchdowns on 141 carries in two seasons at UK. As a sophomore in 2015, Horton he topped the 100-yard mark once with 109 yards on 14 carries in a blowout loss to Tennessee.
Horton has notched 10+ touches in a game just four times in 24 career games. While this move likely won’t affect UK this season, it could in 2017 when Kemp graduates and Boom considers jumping to the NFL.
While Boom may not even hear his name called during the draft, he’s likely going to put his name in it at the end of the season. Depending on what the coaching situation and overall program stability looks like in 2017, Boom may go ahead and try to make it in the NFL while he’s still young and without much wear and tear on his body.
That would leave Snell, King and redshirt freshman A.J. Rose as the only three returning scholarship backs, which is why losing Horton could be a big hit for next year’s team.