By Alex Donno

CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton, who last played October 7th before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery, will reportedly leave Miami a year early for the NFL.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Walton has signed with an agent.

University of Miami junior running back Mark Walton has conveyed to several UM officials that he intends to forgo his senior season and turn pro, according to a source, and a national web site reported Tuesday that he has signed with an agent.

Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com reported that Walton has signed with agent Zac Hiller, who also represents Minnesota Vikings and former FSU running back Dalvin Cook. Once a player signs with an agent, he loses college football eligibility.

Hiller, reached on his cell phone, said he was in a meeting and declined to answer when asked if he had signed Walton.

Walton started Miami’s first five games this season, racking up 428 yards and 3 touchdowns on an impressive 7.6 yards per carry.

Walton’s breakout season came in 2016 as a sophomore. He was voted Team MVP after rushing for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns.

If Walton indeed turns pro early, the decision won’t come as a surprise. Aside from the fact that running backs have a short shelf-life in the NFL, he has family concerns that could create a financial need. Walton is a father to a young daughter, and lost his mother last March. According to Barry Jackson, a UM source said Miami was looking into additional financial aid for Walton if he decided to stay for his senior season.

Losing a great player like Walton early is never easy, but the Hurricanes appear to be in a good place depth-wise for the future. Sophomore Travis Homer has stepped into the featured role at running back nicely, and true freshman Deejay Dallas is improving week by week.

Plus, Miami will welcome a 4-star in Cam’Ron Davis and a 5-star in Lorenzo Lingard as true freshmen next season, assuming they stick with their commitments through National Signing Day.

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