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Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell opts out of 2020 season

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell has decided to opt out of the 2020 season after losing three family members to COVID-19.

He will begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft.

“I’ve had to arrive at the toughest decision of my life, which is to opt out of the 2020 college football season,” Gainwell wrote on social media. “I love this game with all my heart, and never thought I’d have to make this decision. But I just lost my third family member to COVID-19, and after taking time to reflect, I know it’s time for me to look after my family. RIP Uncle Gilbert, Uncle Lester and Aunt Janie.”

Gainwell, a redshirt sophomore, was one of the top all-purpose players in college football.

He rushed for 1,459 yards and added 610 receiving yards, the only FBS player to rush for more than 1,000 yards and have more than 500 receiving yards last season. Gainwell scored 16 touchdowns for the Tigers and had five plays from scrimmage of 60 yards or longer.

The Associated Press listed Gainwell as a second-team choice on its preseason All-America team.

Memphis opens its season Saturday against Arkansas State.

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