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).
Best of luck to Thomas in the future.