Turns out Joe Yearby‘s social media post was a statement of his intent after all.
A source with knowledge of Yearby’s plans confirmed that the junior running back intends to enter the NFL draft. CanesInsight.com first reported that news Sunday.
Coach Mark Richt said on a conference call with reporters Sunday that he wasn’t aware of Yearby’s plans and didn’t know about the Instagram post he made after Saturday’s win over Duke, which referred to his “last home game.”
“I didn’t know anything about that,” Richt said. “If that’s what he wants to do, I’m not going to stop anybody from doing they think is in his best interest. I’ve not had a conversation with him.
“I’m not going to hold anybody from doing what they think is best.”
Yearby’s mother, Joenita Mike, told The Post her son he hadn’t informed her of his decision but said he and his family were “frustrated” with his diminished role. She added that neither Richt nor running backs and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown have returned her calls in the last two weeks.
A 1,000-yard rusher last year as a sophomore, Yearby entered the season as the backup to sophomore Mark Walton and averaged close to 10 carries a game in the first 10 games. However, he earned three carries over the last two games, as coaches gave the backup role to redshirt junior Gus Edwards.
Edwards, a redshirt junior who missed last year with a broken foot, carried 21 times in the first nine games — almost entirely in garbage time — before Miami gave him a larger role the last three weeks. He has 27 touches in the last three games.
Brown commented recently that Edwards had earned a promotion, and he was not disappointed with Yearby.
Yearby was UM’s lead back last season, carrying 205 times for 1,002 yards and six scores. He surpassed his touchdown total this year (seven) and has a better yards-per-carry average (6.0, from 4.9) in half the workload (99 carries, 592 yards). As a freshman, he gained 509 yards and a touchown on 86 carries as Duke Johnson‘s backup.
Yearby, who has 2,103 yards and 14 touchdowns in 390 career carries entering Miami’s bowl game, will likely play his final game next month. The 20-year-old is a father of two children, ages 4 and 2.
His NFL draft stock is unclear. He is not rated among the top draft-eligible backs, and is No. 20 at his position on CBS Sports’ 2018 draft board. At 5-foot-9 and 207 pounds, he doesn’t have ideal size. Unlike Johnson, who was of similar stature, his breakaway speed is a question mark. His career-long run (64 yards) came against Florida A&M. He has two carries of 40-plus this season against Power Five opponents (42 against North Carolina, 41 against Virginia Tech).