Houston Cougars running back Charles Sims is reportedly leaving the program just ahead of his senior season.
UPDATE: Friday, May 24th, at 2:20 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
Matt Fortuna of ESPN provides this statement from Charles Sims:
"It is with regret and deep humbling that I am ending my playing career at the University of Houston. I have a lot of great memories that I will carry with me forever. I want to thank the University of Houston for allowing the opportunity to be a part of its football program. I have worked extremely hard while I have been here at U of H and made every attempt to carry myself in a manner that would reflect the utmost integrity upon the school and this program.
I don't know what my next step will be. I have one more year of eligibility, therefore I may look to play (1) more year of college football or I may enter the NFL Supplemental Draft later this year. My family and I will continue to discuss my options and we will make a decision in the near future."
---End of Update---
Rob Sellers of CougarsDen.com broke the news on Wednesday:
Rob Sellers @Rob_Sellers_
Multiple sources confirm to me that senior RB Charles Sims is leaving the program. Will have much more info regarding his options very soon.5/22/2013, 10:24:27 PM
The 6'1", 213-pound Sims enjoyed a stellar campaign for the Cougars in 2012, running for 851 yards on six yards per carry for 11 touchdowns, while also catching 37 passes for 373 yards and three more scores.
This comes after Sims announced he would return for his final year back in January.
Prior to this past season, Sims was on the preseason Maxwell Award watch list, an accolade that is given to college football's most outstanding player. That hype was justified by his breakout sophomore campaign in which Sims received first-team All-Conference USA honors.
A big reason he didn't receive the same distinction yet again was due to his health, as Sims missed three full games and the second half of three others with injuries (h/t UHCougars.com).
Since Sims has redshirted and already graduated from Houston, he can catch on with another program as a transfer immediately without sitting out a full season, as is typical protocol.
That is what current Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson did in transferring from North Carolina State to Wisconsin in 2011, and he attended graduate school in Madison.
Circumstances are different for Sims in this instance, and it is still a mystery as to precisely why he left Houston. The key is that he's eligible for one more collegiate season, and wherever he lands, he should find a way to see the field
Sims projects well to the NFL because of his size and versatility to catch the ball out of the backfield. Even as a freshman in an offense triggered by Case Keenum, that was evident, as Sims registered 70 receptions for 759 yards.