Report: Sooners RB Kennedy Brooks Will Opt Out Of 2020 Season

Parker Thune

After nine COVID-19 cases within the football program in their most recent round of testing, the Sooners will now have to proceed without their standout running back.

The Athletic reported Sunday afternoon that Kennedy Brooks has chosen to opt out of the 2020 season, little more than 24 hours after Lincoln Riley announced that nine members of the team had tested positive for COVID-19 and several others had been quarantined through contact tracing.

The Athletic's Jason Kersey, citing unnamed sources, reported that Brooks told Riley on Sunday afternoon. The news seemed to catch Riley off guard. Riley had a video press conference on Saturday and said Brooks was positioned for a big season.

“Kennedy’s come back in some of the best shape he’s been in right now,” Riley said.

“We all look at this through our own lens," Riley said. "You can’t make a blanket decision ... at this point we haven’t had any players that have decided to opt out. Will it happen? Hard to say. It certainly could.”

A day later, it's happened for the first time, and it's left the vaunted Oklahoma rushing attack without their bread and butter. Brooks was expected to lead the Sooners' backfield committee in 2020 after Trey Sermon transferred to Ohio State. The redshirt junior topped 1,000 yards on the ground in each of the last two seasons, and shouldered most of the load down the stretch last year after Sermon suffered a season-ending injury. Brooks averaged an absurd 8.9 yards per carry in 2019, and found the end zone 12 times.

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