Minnesota's Russell not enrolled for spring semester

Updated: February 3, 2006, 8:52 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota running back Gary Russell is not enrolled in classes for spring semester, making him ineligible for the Gophers' spring practices.

The school revealed the news in a late Friday news release, which didn't specify the reason for or the length of Russell's departure. Team spokesman Shane Sandersfeld said he had no further information.

With leading rusher Laurence Maroney's declaration for the NFL draft, Russell is expected to be the featured back as a junior this fall. Maroney and Russell each surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last year, making Minnesota the first school in NCAA history to have two 1,000-yard rushers in three consecutive seasons.

"While this is disappointing for everyone involved, we want what is best for Gary and will help him in any way allowable," coach Glen Mason said in a prepared statement. "Gary has been a part of our family, and we will continue to support him."

Russell racked up 1,130 yards rushing on 186 carries with 19 total touchdowns as a sophomore last season.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press