SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – University of Utah running back Micah Benard will play his final season of college football somewhere else.
Bernard has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will have two seasons of eligibility left as a graduate transfer.
“All love to everyone associated with Utah, from teammates, coaches, fans and much more,” Bernard wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a blessing these last 4 years and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!”
Bernard started at running back for the Utes in the Rose Bowl, and rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries in Utah’s 35-21 loss to Penn State. For the season, Bernard totaled 847 yards and five touchdowns. Over the last two seasons, Bernard accounted for 1,621 yards and nine scores.
Bernard also famously played defensive back in the 2022 Rose Bowl against Ohio State when Utah’s secondary was depleted with injuries.
Leading rusher Tavion Thomas has already indicated he will leave for the NFL Draft, leaving the Utes with Ja’Quendin Jackson and Jaylon Glover as the top returners at running back for the 2023 season.
Utah’s 2023 recruiting class also includes running backs John Randle Jr., Dijon Stanley and Mike Mitchell.
With BYU losing running backs Christopher Brooks and Lopini Katoa, Bernard could venture down to Provo and make an immediate impact with the Cougars.
Also on Wednesday, Utes linebacker Mohamoud Diabate announced he is declaring for the NFL Draft.
Diabate played one season at Utah after transferring from Florida and had 58 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, one forced fumble and one pass defended.
Diabate had one Covid season of eligibility left, but decided to test the NFL waters instead. Diabate joins Clark Phillips III, Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid as Utes leaving school early for the NFL Draft.
“This last year in Salt Lake City has been one of the most memorable of my life,” Diabate wrote on Twitter. “From winning the Pac-12 Championship to playing in the Rose Bowl, this was a remarkable year that I am grateful to have been a part of.”