Running back Nate Strong hasn’t been with Missouri’s football program since the beginning of the season.

On Tuesday, coach Barry Odom confirmed a report by Power Mizzou’s Gabe DeArmond that the junior had left the prior to the Sept. 2 opener against in-state foe Missouri State.

Strong would have given the Tigers depth in the backfield behind Damarea Crockett, one of the SEC’s best players. Even before Strong’s departure, however, he had been slowed by a knee injury during preseason camp. And this spring, he had been suspended indefinitely due to a violation of team rules.

A junior college transfer, Strong joined Missouri last season and served as the team’s No. 3 running back, carrying 32 times for 137 yards. He played a starring role in the season finale against Arkansas, when he ran for two touchdowns while Crockett was suspended and Ish Witter was injured.

Strong met with the media last month and spoke of the way he had matured as a result of his suspension.

“I learned to stay humble and be more patient and keep God first regardless of whatever adversity I face,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Aug 11. “I have to stay humble before anything.”

“I was always set on staying here,” he added. “This is a good program. I love the coaches and my team. They love me, too.”

Missouri will continue to prepare for Saturday’s game against Purdue, which is to kick off at 4 p.m. ET at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field.