UND FOOTBALL: Running back Murray dismissed from teamJosh Murray’s return to UND football in 2010 was a feel-good story for the Sioux. The running back from Pepin, Wis., missed the 2009 season because of academics. But he got his grades in order and received a second chance with the Sioux. Murray, however, was dismissed from the UND football team Thursday because of a violation of team rules, according to Sioux coach Chris Mussman.
By: Wayne Nelson, Grand Forks Herald
Josh Murray’s return to UND football in 2010 was a feel-good story for the Sioux.
The running back from Pepin, Wis., missed the 2009 season because of academics. But he got his grades in order and received a second chance with the Sioux.
Murray, however, was dismissed from the UND football team Thursday because of a violation of team rules, according to Sioux coach Chris Mussman.
The reason for the dismissal was not revealed.
No legal or academic issues, however, are involved in the dismissal, Mussman said.
“I’m disappointed in Josh that it got to this point,” Mussman said. “But I talked to my team after the season and up until the beginning of this semester about what’s right for the program.
“I had to do what’s right for the program.”
Murray played as a true freshman in 2007, finishing with 530 rushing yards.
As a sophomore, Murray led UND with 1,146 yards and was named to the 2008 all-Great West Conference first team. He was the only player in the league that season to rush for more than 1,000 yards and average 100 rushing yards per game.
But he was suspended for the 2009 season because of academic issues.
He returned last season and led UND in rushing with 630 yards.
The announcement of his dismissal comes one day after UND announced its 2011 recruiting class, one that contained only one running back.
But Mussman said UND is not done recruiting, likely opening the door for the addition of another running back.
The only running back signed Wednesday was Jer Garman, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior from Marion, Iowa. It’s possible Garman may be in the mix to play next season to help with depth at running back.
“He’s explosive,” Mussman said of Garman. “I told him (Tuesday) night to prepare himself to come in and be ready to compete for a position. We’re going to play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win, no matter what age.”
Mitch Sutton shared the running back duties last season with Murray. Sutton rushed for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
Other Sioux running backs scheduled to return include Jake Miller, who played last season as a true freshman; Spencer Bickel and redshirt freshmen Adam Shaugabay and Breon Butler.
UND’s depth concerns in the defensive secondary also may result in true freshmen seeing the field in 2011. Javen Butler, a safety from Pittsburg, Calif., and Brian Fifita, a defensive back from Lawndales, Calif., are the two defensive backs that signed Wednesday. A third was scheduled to sign but UND did not receive his letter of intent.
Javen Butler is Breon Butler’s brother.
While the Sioux spent much of Wednesday talking about their 2011 class, Mussman said recruiting will continue, perhaps until August when fall camp begins.
Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.