Brown withdraws for personal reasons

Northern Illinois running back Me'co Brown has withdrawn from school for personal reasons, coach Jerry Kill announced Monday.

Brown, a junior, was the Huskies second-leading rusher in 2009 with 645 yards and four touchdowns on 148 carries. In two seasons with the team, he rushed for 1,155 yards in 14 games.

Brown battled injuries and personal issues last season. He missed the International Bowl because of a family issue, but Kill said in February that Brown was still with the team. Brown was again expected to compete for the backup running back slot behind starter Chad Spann this season.

Although Brown's departure is a big loss, the Huskies do have a stable of running backs in contention for playing time this year, including Jasmin Hopkins, who was the National Junior College Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year after leading the NJCAA in rushing with 1,931 yards.

Ricky Crider, Cameron Bell and Antione Kirkland also will challenge for playing time.

Graham Watson covers college sports for ESPN.com.