A college football career that began four years ago with such promise ended with little fanfare Monday when redshirt junior running back Lorenzo Harrison III announced on social media that he was “medically retiring” from the sport.
“All good things must come to an end,” Harrison tweeted.
Harrison, who began his college career in 2016 by becoming the first freshman in school history to score touchdowns in four straight games and seemed poised to break LaMont Jordan’s freshman rushing record, missed most of the past two seasons with injuries.
In a statement released by the team, Maryland coach Mike Locksley said: “I’ve known LoLo [Harrison’s nickname] since he was in high school and you won’t find anyone with more passion for the game of football. I know this was a very tough decision for him and his family. We will continue to support him in any way we can and I’m very confident he’ll be successful in anything he puts his mind to. LoLo will always be a Terp.”
As a freshman, Harrison teamed with junior Ty Johnson to help the Terps to a 4-0 start under first-year coach DJ Durkin and give Maryland one of the best rushing tandems in the Big Ten.
Harrison, who started the season buried on the depth chart, rushed 88 times for 643 yards and five touchdowns, but missed the last four games after being suspended along with former DeMatha High teammate DJ Turner.
Because of the suspension, Harrison missed a chance to break Jordan’s freshman record of 689 yards, which was shattered two years ago when redshirt freshman Anthony McFarland Jr. rushed for 1,034 yards.
Harrison and Turner were reinstated shortly after the Terps finished a 6-7 season with a bowl loss to Boston College, and charges that stemmed from an incident in which the two players allegedly shot an air rifle on campus were dropped for “insufficient evidence," according to the Prince George’s State’s Attorney.
Harrison returned the following season, finishing with 622 yards and three touchdowns on 137 carries. He finished his Terps career with 1,409 rushing yards on 242 carries (5.8 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 108 yards.
Two years ago, Harrison played in just two games before it was announced that he would miss the remainder of the season with what his father later described as a “minor knee injury” that required surgery. Last season, Harrison also played in two games, suffering a torn MCL and a partially torn ACL on his only carry in a 59-0 loss to No. 10 Penn State.
In his post on Twitter, Harrison wrote, “As I sit here typing this letter, my mind is all over the place. From the time I was 4 years old, football has been the center of my life. The game has taken me places at the age of 22 most could only dream of. It has introduced me to my closest friends and helped me forge relationships that will last a lifetime. Football, and its various ups and downs, helped turn a boy into a man.
"As we grow up and hear people elaborate about how the game comes to an end someday, we pay no attention because at the time it is all we know. However during the last game I competed in, I sustained a severe injury. Due to those circumstances which are far out of my control, I feel it is in my best interest to convert my focus from ball to the next great thing. With that being said, I am medically retiring from the game that has given me everything I could ever ask for.
"As I wrote that last sentence, tears streamed down my face because life without ball seems unimaginable quickly honestly. Nonetheless, everything happens for a reason and, ‘If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.’ To my parents, thank you for making sure I knew I was born to stand out and become whatever I want in this world. I will take that believe with me and continue to stand out in whatever endeavors I choose to embark on next.
“To my grandmother, thank you for being there every step of the way and being my true #1 fan. I also want to thank the rest of my family for supporting me along this entire journey. To my teammates, present and past, thanks for all the good times as well as sticking with me when times got rough. I want to thank the University of Maryland for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams as a football player and continue to receive my education. To the game of football, I love you and miss you.”