Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. will forgo his remaining two seasons of eligibility to declare for the NFL draft, he announced Tuesday.

“I want to start by thanking the great coaching staff and amazing fans at this wonderful University,” McFarland wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter. “In addition, thank you to my teammates. You are my brothers and I am blessed to have made deep relationships with many of you that will last a lifetime.”

McFarland, a redshirt sophomore, struggled with a nagging ankle injury all season but still showed his ability to generate explosive plays. He ran for 614 yards during the 2019 campaign without much help from the offensive line or a complementary passing game. McFarland recorded a season-high 134 yards, which included a 63-yard touchdown, in Maryland’s season finale Saturday at Michigan State.

After a strong redshirt freshman season, McFarland seemed poised for an even better 2019, but with the injury holding him back, Javon Leake finished as the Terps’ leading rusher this season with 736 yards. McFarland scored eight rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown this year.

During his first season playing for the Terps, McFarland tallied 1,034 rushing yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. He garnered national attention last season when he shredded Ohio State’s defense for 298 rushing yards, including a school-record 231 yards in the first half. On the second play of that game, McFarland scored on an 81-yard run. He then ran for a 75-yard score on the first play of the subsequent drive.

But McFarland was never able to build upon those 2018 highlights this season. Despite his underwhelming year, McFarland’s past success and dynamic skill set will likely make him an attractive player for prospective NFL teams.

Even though McFarland has played only two seasons for Maryland, he has been in school for three, so he is eligible to declare early.

The absence of McFarland will hurt the Terps’ running backs group led by Elijah Brooks, the former coach at DeMatha, where McFarland played in high school. Leake has not yet announced whether he will return for his final season of eligibility. Lorenzo Harrison III and Jake Funk are both options at the position, but each missed most of 2019 with knee injuries that required surgery.

Tayon Fleet-Davis served as Maryland’s third-string running back, but he was recently charged with driving while impaired and missed the final two games. It’s not clear how that will impact his availability next season.

Maryland has a pair of three-star running backs committed in the class of 2020: Peny Boone from Michigan and Ebony Jackson from Georgia.

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