Miami announces RB Joe Yearby will enter NFL draft

Joe Yearby finds open field against Appalachian State. (Getty Images)

Joe Yearby finds open field against Appalachian State. (Getty Images)

[Brad Kaaya announces he is turning pro]

[Teammates react to the news]

[Hurricanes gearing up for QB battle]

[Njoku declares for draft after bowl win]

In reality, he was the first Hurricanes player this season to announce his departure. But Miami made Joe Yearby‘s status official on Tuesday, releasing a statement that he will enter the NFL draft.

Yearby, who rushed for 1,002 yards and six touchdowns in 2015, was passed by sophomore Mark Walton in spring practice and by the end of the year, he split carries with redshirt junior Gus Edwards in a backup role.

Walton racked up 1,357 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns and was named Miami’s overall team MVP by the coaching staff. Yearby was second on the team in rushing yards (608) and touchdowns (seven), gaining a team-best 6.0 yards per carry.

He posted — and later deleted — on Instagram after Miami’s regular-season finale against Duke on Nov. 26 that it was his “Last Home Game As A Cane.” Yearby has not been made available for interviews since.

Walton enters the 2017 season as the Hurricanes’ clear-cut No. 1 back. Edwards will be in an increased role — if he does not transfer. The Staten Island, N.Y. native, according to UM sources, has explored a move closer to home (Syracuse recruited him heavily out of high school), and posted on social media before the Russell Athletic Bowl that it would be his last game in a Miami uniform. The Hurricanes’ coaching staff has been trying to convince him to stay.

Other backs in the mix include sophomore-to-be Travis Homer, who impressed on special teams in his first year, and two recruits Miami plans to sign. Miami-Gulliver Prep’s Robert Burns committed to UM during his sophomore season in high school, and Miami is considered the favorite for Maryland-based Anthony McFarland. 

In a statement released through UM, Yearby said his time at UM was “truly memorable” and said the school “shaped me into the person I am today. Miami has been and always will be my home and I look forward to remaining a part of the South Florida community for years to come.”

Coach Mark Richt said Yearby, a four-star recruit in the 2014 class from Miami Central High, informed him of his decision Tuesday. “I was able to thank Joe for everything he did for our program,” Richt said in a statement. “I wish him the very best.”

He finished his three-year career with 2,119 yards (ninth in UM history) and 14 touchdowns. He started 13 games, all in 2015, and played in 38. He had seven 100-yard rushing games (tied for ninth).

His NFL draft stock is unclear. Yearby, who has two young children, is rated 20th among running backs in the 2018 class by CBS Sports. Though he is a shifty, tough runner, he does not have great size (5-foot-9, 209 pounds) or breakaway speed, and will likely have to show a willingness to play on special teams to stick in the league.

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