LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville running back Javian Hawkins, who has rushed for better than 2,000 yards over the past two seasons and was well on his way to another 1,000-yard season before sitting out Saturday's game at Virginia, has announced that he will opt out of the rest of the season and begin preparations for the NFL Draft.

No specific explanation was given for Hawkins' absence on Saturday. Louisville has been missing a number of players over the past several weeks because of COVID-19 infections or isolation protocols, but it's unclear whether Hawkins was one of those.

In a statement released via Twitter on Monday morning, Hawkins thanked athletics director Vince Tyra and U of L president Neeli Bendapudi for the opportunity to play.

"Over the next few months," he said in the statement, "I'll be finishing the semester at Louisville and preparing for the Draft. My experience at Louisville has been nothing short of amazing. My teammates, coaches, professors and the entire Louisville family has prepared me for my next chapter in the NFL. I will forever be grateful to everyone who has contributed to my journey at Louisville."

A redshirt sophomore, Hawkins ends his Louisville career as the school’s 10th leading rusher with 2,355 yards. He is third on the single-season rushing list with 1,525 yards last season. He ran for 5.9 yards per carry in his career, fifth all-time at Louisville.

"I would like to thank coach (Scott) Satterfield, coach (Norval) McKenzie and the entire staff for their guidance," Hawkins said. "They have made me a better player and person. I would like to thank my teammates for their support, both on and off the field. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank the best fans in college football."

Players opting out has become a common occurrence during the 2020 season, with the risk of the coronavirus rising. Players are given the option of returning without penalty by the NCAA should they choose to do so.

Hawkins, at 5-9 and 195 pounds, will have to convince scouts of his value if he wants to move up in the draft, but he has proven a powerful runner in college, and could find a spot in the league as a change-of-pace back.

Without Hawkins, Louisville rushed for 317 yards in a loss at Virginia on Saturday.

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.