April 27, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY -
University of Utah running back Mike Liti has announced his retirement after learning his surgically-repaired knee will not be completely healed when the team returns for summer camp. Liti used a redshirt year in 2004 and would have needed to apply for a medical hardship extension from the NCAA in order to play a final season in 2008.
"My knee isn't healing fast enough for me to be at 100-percent by the summer and I don't want to get hurt again," said Liti. "I am graduating on May 4 with a degree in electronic journalism and I feel that it is best to move on to my career after college rather than wait another two years." Liti would like to work in broadcast journalism.
Said Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham, "It's unfortunate to see Mike's career cut short by an injury and he will certainly be missed. On the positive side, Mike is leaving with his degree in hand and has some great career opportunities on the horizon. We appreciate Mike's hard work and dedication to the program and wish him all the best."
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior began his Ute career in 2003, playing in nine games as a true freshman and starting in three before breaking his collarbone against Wyoming on Nov. 15. He missed the final two games of the season--Utah wins over Brigham Young and Southern Miss, in the Liberty Bowl. Still, his freshman year would be his best, as he rushed 42 times for 207 yards (4.9 yards per rush) and three touchdowns. In his first start, he rushed for 81 yards against New Mexico.The Santa Ana, Calif., native redshirted in 2004 and returned to the field in 2005, when he played in seven games and started two--totaling 12 rushes for 28 yards. Last year, Liti started the first game of the season vs. UCLA and led Utah with 57 yards on eight carries--an average of 7.1 yards per rush. He played in seven total games, missing two with a rib injury, before suffering a season-ending knee injury against UNLV on Oct. 28. He underwent surgery on his left knee on Nov. 11. Liti finished the season with 37 rushes for 183 yards (4.9 yards per rush) and one touchdown. His best game came against Northern Arizona, when he rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Liti's departure leaves Utah with three returning running backs in the program: senior Darryl Poston and juniors Darrell Mack and Ray Stowers.