Clifton Richardson was once one of the brightest football prospects at Virginia. But after an injury-plagued 2012 and a tumble down the depth chart he has left the program according to coach Mike London.

“Clifton Richardson has been granted permission to seek a release from his scholarship to pursue opportunities elsewhere,” London announced in a press release. “Clifton will be leaving the university in good academic standing. I wish the best for Clifton as he pursues his academic and athletic goals.”

Averaging 5.1 yards on 72 carries as a freshman, it seemed only a matter of time before Richardson would get his opportunity to become the Cavaliers primary back. But last year was a lost season as a leg injury contributed to limited and ineffective work. The 6-1, 210-pound Richardson carried only 24 times, averaging 2.5 yards per attempt.

After the spring, Richardson was behind juniors Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd on the depth chart. Another highly-touted back, Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell, a five-star prospect from Virginia Beach, will arrive next fall.

Parks was Virginia’s most product back last year rushing for 734 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt, while Shepherd, son of former Redskins wide receiver Leslie Shepherd, grew into his role as a dangerous third-down threat, averaging 6.4 yards on 19 rushes.