Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Thursday that sophomore running back Arby Fields is leaving the team.
"We're disappointed that Arby has made the decision to leave Northwestern," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "He is an outstanding young man and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
Fields played two seasons for the Wildcats and rushed for 480 yards in 23 games with six touchdowns. Fields also had 21 receptions. He rushed for a career-high 96 yards against Illinois State on Sept. 11, a 37-3 victory at Ryan Field.
Fields, also a centerfielder for the Wildcats baseball team, hit .292 last spring during his freshman campaign with 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Fields was one of three running backs starting for the Wildcats for the first month of the season. He was hopefully going to be the headliner in a running game that Fitzgerald had high hopes for since training camp began in August. But after the ISU victory, Fields' output dropped off and he was benched for the Minnesota game on Oct. 2, a 29-28 victory in Minneapolis.
After Fields stopped seeing playing time, Fitzgerald went with the running back tandem of Jacob Schmidt and redshirt freshman Mike Trumpy, a local prodcut from Wheaton North. Schmidt, though, injured his ankle in the Wildcats' 35-27 loss to Michigan State and has since been unable to play. Trumpy picked up the slack, but he suffered a non-surgical fracture in his right wrist in the first quarter against Illinois on Nov. 20 at Wrigley Field, a 48-27 Wildcat loss.
Fitzgerald was not immediately available for more comments, as he is on the road recruiting, a university spokesperson said.