BYU running back Jamaal Williams (21) carries the ball in...

BYU running back Jamaal Williams (21) carries the ball in the second half during a game against Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Provo, Utah. Credit: AP / Rick Bowmer

BYU leading rusher Jamaal Williams has withdrawn from school and will sit out this season.

Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a statement released by the school Thursday that the senior running back was stepping away for personal reasons. Mendenhall says he plans to have Williams back with the team next season.

Williams has run for 2,626 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons with BYU. He's also caught 53 passes for 487 yards. Williams missed the final five games of last season because of injuries, but is still most experienced and productive back on BYU's roster heading into preseason practice.

Algernon Brown (324 yards rushing last season), Nate Carter (290) and Adam Hine (154) are the top returning rushers among BYU running backs.

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