An already weak senior crop of running backs took a hit Tuesday with the news that 6-2, 211 pound James Starks will miss the 2009 season after tests revealed a labral tear in his shoulder that will require surgery and 4-6 months of rehabilitation, according to head coach Turner Gill.
Starks, who redshirted as a freshman, does not have any eligibility remaining. He'll have the option of petitioning the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility or begin the process of rehabilitating with an eye toward impressing scouts at the 2010 Combine.
Starks, Buffalo's career rushing leader (3,140 yards, 34 TDs), exploded onto the scene last year, rushing for 1,333 yards and 16 touchdowns in helping lead the Bulls to their first MAC title and a berth in the International Bowl, the first bowl game in school history. The total, the most in a single-season in Buffalo history, came despite Starks missing nearly three full games due to injury.
A lanky runner with good burst to get upfield and surprising strength, Starks had been pegged by scouts as a middle-round pick capable of moving up the board with good workouts.