PROVO — With less than two weeks to go before BYU opens fall camp, coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that junior running back Josh Quezada has decided to transfer.
"Josh is a great young man, and I appreciate all the hard work he has put in to help make our program successful," Mendenhall said in a statement released Friday. "We will miss him, but I'm supportive of his future and his goals and wish the best for Josh and his family."
Quezada, a native of La Habra, Calif., has not determined where he plans to transfer, according to BYU officials.
As a freshman in 2010, Quezada, nicknamed "Juice," rushed for 505 yards. The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder gained 298 yards last season, though he was hampered by a nagging ankle injury.
Quezada also had to deal with a family tragedy last fall. Just prior to the game against New Mexico State in November, his 20-year-old brother died in an automobile accident in California. Quezada played the rest of the season and he participated in spring drills.
"When a family member passes, it's overwhelming and you don't know how to react," Quezada told reporters in April. "It's something I had never been through. Of course, I've learned from it and I wish my brother was here. I pray for my brother. I know he's in a better place. I always look at it as in, he's always looking out for me, helping me out in decisions I make. He helps me out in those kinds of ways."
Quezada also talked about how difficult his brother's death has been for him and his family.
"It can be really hard. I make sure to talk to my siblings and make sure they're doing OK, especially the younger ones," he said. "It can be hard for them. It's like a movie. You think it's not real, but this is the real thing. I call them every day and make sure they're doing OK. It's a process, just taking one step at a time."
Junior Michael Alisa is listed as the starter at running back on the Cougars 2012 depth chart, with Quezada listed as the backup. JJ Di Luigi, who has graduated, was the Cougars' leading rusher last season, amassing 584 yards. BYU's second-leading rusher was Alisa, who gained 455 yards.
Quezada's departure opens the door for other running backs, including David Foote, Adam Hine, Paul Lasike, and true freshman Jamaal Williams, to make an impact this season.