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By Allen Moff | Staff Writer
Kent State enters the 2014 spring football practice season today without a pair of prized running backs.
Roman Clay and Julian Durden are no longer with the program, according to head coach Paul Haynes, who confirmed their dismissal on Monday.
"Both of those are just team rules that they didn't follow," said Haynes. "It happened more than once, so I think it was in our best interest and their best interest to move on and kind of start their college careers over. There was a lot of communication back and forth, and we just felt on both sides it was best that they start their careers over somewhere else."
Clay was a highly touted 2013 recruit out of Lancaster Catholic High School in Pennsylvania. He did not carry the football as a freshman last year, but did play in nine games on special teams, making one tackle.
Durden (McKees Rock, Pa./Montour H.S.) had a 32-yard carry in the Golden Flashes' GoDaddy.com Bowl loss to Arkansas State in January of 2013, but was then suspended from the team the following month after being charged with receiving stolen property (fifth-degree felony) and one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Durden rejoined the team during the 2013 season and played in three games, carrying the ball five times for 43 yards.
Clay and Durden were both expected to help fill in for the loss of speedster Dri Archer, who will likely be taken in the NFL Draft this May after running the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
The Flashes now have just two lettermen returning at running back: Seniors Trayion Durham and Anthony Meray.
Durham led KSU with 766 yards on the ground last year, and the 248-pound hammer is expected to be the featured back in 2014. Meray rushed for 248 yards a year ago and has been a dependable reserve throughout his career.
Nick Holley, who lettered on special teams as a freshman last year, has been moved from wide receiver to running back. The other running backs listed on Kent State's spring roster are sophomore Tristin Boykin, junior Joe Rogers (Barberton), freshman Scott Tegowksi (Twinsburg) and freshman Khaled Abukhaled (Field).
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier