Clay, Durden dismissed from football team

Kent+State+freshman+running+back+Julian+Durden+runs+the+ball+past+Miami+University+senior+linebacker+Pat+Hinkel+in+a+game+against+Miami+at+Yager+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+10%2C+2012.+Photo+by+Kristin+Bauer.

Kent State freshman running back Julian Durden runs the ball past Miami University senior linebacker Pat Hinkel in a game against Miami at Yager Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Photo by Kristin Bauer.

Michael Mann

With the first spring football practice taking place Tuesday, the backfield for the Kent State Football team is a bit thinner than coach Paul Haynes might have anticipated.

Roman Clay and Julian Durden, who were expected to fill in for the loss of hopeful NFL draftee Dri Archer, have been dismissed from the team.

Haynes told the Record-Courier on Monday that it was in the team and players’ best interest to move on after both players had repeatedly broken team rules.

Clay and Durden were in the top 100 of running backs rated by ESPN.com coming out of their respective high schools, both from Pennsylvania.

Durden’s highlight as a Flash was a 32-yard carry in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2013. In his freshman year, Durden took 27 rush attempts over his 10 appearances for a total of 133 yards with one touchdown.

Durden’s 4.9 yards per carry (min. 25 attempts) was second only to Dri Archer. That was the same season Archer averaged over 100 yards per game, also nearly eclipsing a 1,500 yard total for the year.

Durden faced a suspension from the team in February when he was charged with fifth-degree felony for receiving stolen property and one count each for possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

Clay did not have any carries or receptions as a freshman, although he appeared on special teams in nine games. Clay’s combo of speed, power and vision made him an appealing complement for this year’s football team with seniors Trayion Durham and Anthony Meray getting the bulk of the work.

Durham led the Flashes in rushing last year earning 766 yards on 182 touches with six touchdowns. He also proved as a viable receiving option for the Flashes, averaging 8.2 yards on 18 receptions.

Meray amassed 248 yards in his junior season, cementing himself as a dependable back for the team when needed.

Both Durham and Meray will head into the season with a new running backs coach. Tuesday’s practice was the first day of work for new hire Don Treadwell, the team’s running backs coach. The former Miami Redhawks head coach will lead not only the two seniors, but five other younger running backs including wide receiver converted running back Nick Holley.

Contact Michael Mann at [email protected]