JUCO transfer Octavius Matthews was a big get for coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks. The 4-star (Scout) JUCO running back was expected to make an immediate impact on the field for the Jayhawks, but with days until the season kicks off, Matthews is being forced to give up the game of football.
Beaty announced on Monday evening that Matthews has an undisclosed condition that has forced him to retire from the game.
“Octavius Matthews will not be with us this year, and as a matter of fact, he won’t be with us at all in terms of on the field,” Beaty said, “but he certainly will be part of our program as we move forward.”
It was reported earlier that Matthews was having some tests run earlier in the month, and it looks like the results were not favorable.
“We’re family in that room,” Running backs coach Tony Hull said after the news came out, “and everybody is just there for him.”
The Jayhawks will also be without tight end Kenyon Tabor, offensive lineman Cam Durley and running back Denzell Evans as Beaty confirmed that all three have suffered season-ending injuries.
Tabor will likely redshirt as he is a freshman this season. Durley was a member of the Jayhawks 2016 class and saw limited action as a freshman last season. Evans is a redshirt senior entering 2017, and saw time in all 12 games last season on special teams and had 17 carries for 29 yards on the year. Should he wish, he may be able to apply for a medical hardship waiver and a sixth year of eligibility at the end of the year.
Kansas opens the season against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. Hopefully, they can stay healthy until then.