Thomas Hankerson won’t return to Friends for senior season



Friends running back Thomas Hankerson won’t be returning to Friends for his senior season.

I spoke with Hankerson several times last week — the junior from Boynton Beach, Fla., said he’s leaving school and moving home to train for a career in professional football.

“I’d like to take a shot at playing on the next level,” Hankerson said. “My age is a big factor in me taking this shot. I’m 24 years old, which is a lot older than most of the running backs coming out of college.”

Friends coach Monty Lewis confirmed Hankerson was leaving via text, indicating the move creates a big opening for junior tailback and Nicholls State transfer Tyrie Allen, who was one of Hankerson’s backup this season.

Hankerson, 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds, rushed for 1,534 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Academics may have played a role in his decision, too. He indicated to me he wasn’t sure he would have the full amount of credits to be eligible to play next season  – Friends was his fourth stop playing college football — hitting four different levels along the way in a rare feat. He started at NCAA Division II Lane College, then to Hutchinson Community College (NJCAA), Kansas State (Division I) and Friends (NAIA).

I profiled Hankerson in October – he was a unanimous All-KCAC pick last month. Here’s one of his highlight videos.

Best of luck to Thomas in the future.