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Gophers running back ‘Bucky’ Irving enters NCAA transfer portal

Ky Thomas was the first Gophers running back to leave, transferring to Kansas in January.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mar'Keise "Bucky" Irving runs in for a touchdown against Indiana on Nov. 20 in Bloomington, Indiana. The Gophers won 35-14.
Marc Lebryk / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL -- The NCAA transfer portal continues to wreak havoc on the University of Minnesota Gophers football team’s running backs.

After his true freshman season, Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving tweeted Friday that he will become the second Minnesota tailback to explore options at another school.

“I want to thank my coaches, teammates and the University of Minnesota, I have entered the transfer portal,” Irving tweeted.

Ky Thomas was the first Gophers running back to leave. The second-year player exited after being named offensive MVP of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in late December; the Topeka, Kan., native settled at Kansas University in January.

Thomas rushed for a team-high 824 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, followed by Irving’s 699 and four scores. The youngsters stepped up when starter Mo Ibrahim ruptured his Achilles tendon in September and backup Trey Potts was lost for the season after being hospitalized for a week in October.

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Neither Ibrahim nor Potts have been cleared for spring practices, head coach P.J. Fleck said in late March. Bryce Williams and true freshman Zach Evans are now atop the U’s depth chart at running back going into the spring game on April 30.

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