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Illinois dismisses Dami Ayoola from football team

Dami Ayoola, a sophomore running back who played in 11 games as a true freshman but was missing from last Saturday’s victory over Southern Illinois, has been dismissed from the Illinois football team. According to a brief statement issued by the school on Tuesday, the cause was a violation of team rules.

The statement offered no other details of substance.

Ayoola, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in 2012. The former three-star recruit played at high school football power St. Thomas Aquinas, which has a long list of alumni in the NFL, including Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard. Wisconsin’s starting running back, James White, also played there.

The 5-10, 205-pound Ayoola was third on the depth chart at Illinois this season, behind Donnovon Young and Josh Ferguson, but the strong, quick runner was expected to contribute to the offense and still had three years left to emerge.

Redshirt freshman Devin Church, who is listed on the roster as a wide receiver, was the Illini’s No. 3 running back in the Southern Illinois opener. Church carried once for nine yards.