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Dionza Bradford’s departure leaves a hole in UNLV’s backfield

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Sam Morris

UNLV running back Dionza Bradford dives in for a touchdown against Boise State during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

UNLVrunning back Dionza Bradford has decided to leave the team, coach Bobby Hauck told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday, leaving a question mark in the Rebels’ backfield.

As a freshman, Bradford was the team’s second-leading rusher, with 615 yards on a 4.6 per carry average and three rushing touchdowns. Hauck didn’t discuss the situation in-depth, and Bradford is expected to transfer from UNLV “for personal reasons”, Hauck told the RJ, in the near future.

With his departure, UNLV’s backfield — a perceived strength coming into the year — faces some questions. The good news is that leading rusher Tim Cornett, who will be a junior, is back. Last year, he averaged 5.6 yards per carry for 671 yards and seven rushing touchdowns. His yardage ranked 11th in the conference, one spot ahead of Bradford.

The Rebels also return Bradley Randle, a capable junior who put up nearly 500 yards and a pair of touchdowns last year. But Randle, who’s 5-foot-7 and 190 pounds, seemed more fit as a change-of-pace back than a player who'll have to share the load with Cornett.

Beyond those two, there’s only one running back listed on the roster — oft-injured senior Imari Thompson. He’s only rushed for 24 yards in his career and has played mostly on special teams while losing nearly two full seasons to injury. The Rebels also have two fullbacks — sophomores William Vea and Darius Andres. Vea, who started as a linebacker, didn’t have any carries last year, but he caught six passes, including one for a touchdown.

Northwestern transfer Adonis Smith has to sit out this season before having two years of eligibility left with UNLV. With the hole that Bradford has left, Hauck may need to look around his roster, possibly at backup linebackers, for another guy to carry the ball.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. What about a juco transfer? We really need 2 solid RBs to get the running game stronger. Sorry to hear Bradford transferring. Any idea where he's going?

  2. JUCO is definitely an option, and maybe the best one, but right now it's just speculation. Haven't heard where Bradford's going yet.

  3. Dionza Bradford must have done something and left before the ax fell

  4. Nice going Hauck....way to keep the players on the team...

    We definitely made the right decision when we EXTENDED his contract...what a joke.

  5. There are always the high prolie teams that over recruit (accept more scholarships than they have available) and then get cut.

  6. @Taylor
    Why would he be considering JUCO? He seemed like he was going to be the #1 or #2 RB here for the next 3 years. Do you know if playing time opportunity was one of his reasons for leaving?? Thanks.

  7. He wasnt run off by the coach or over recruited. He left for "personal" reasons.

    The JUCO comment was referring to possibly recruiting a JC RB as a replacement but I think we have enough guys to cover the job but his physical style will be missed.