Jolly informed coaches and teammates Thursday of his decision to leave the team. He boarded a plane for his home in San Antonio later in the day. Head coach Gary Barnett on Friday confirmed Jolly was gone and would not be back with the team.
Running backs coach Shawn Simms said over the summer he thought Jolly would be the surprise of the group of running backs come the fall. However, the 6-0, 230-pounder carried the ball just 23 times for 62 yards in 2004. He appeared in all 12 games, much of the time on special teams.
According to those close to the situation, Jolly had been unhappy off and on during his time in Boulder, ever since the middle of his freshman season in 2003. But it appears it wasn't necessarily a case of a player being unhappy about lack of playing time.
"He didn't choose to play football," Vickers said, mentioning a late-night conversation he had with Jolly. "He said he had to play football."
Vickers and Jolly were roommates this season when the team was on the road, and the two developed a close friendship, even though they didn't always share the same interests.
"He's a pretty deep person," Vickers said of Jolly. "He has a lot of things he likes doing. A lot of things that athletes might find funny or goofy. Maybe he wants to start playing the guitar; maybe he wants to write poems. He's a deep person. He used to tell me, ‘My life is a lot deeper than football.'
"I can't be mad at him. You can't hate a man for wanting to make himself happy."
Vickers said Jolly is a gifted speaker, and that showed through in their conversations, and whenever Jolly addressed the team.
"He has a gift of speaking," Vickers said. "He talks to anybody and he can make you feel what he's saying.
"He's a real bright young man. Without football, he could still go to school. He's one of those kind of people."
Jolly's departure, coupled with running back Isaiah Crawford's dismissal from the team last week, leaves CU with just four true running backs in the fold for the Dec. 29 Houston Bowl – fullback Vickers, and tailbacks Bobby Purify, Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis. Tight end Jesse Wallace may not play in the game because of a nagging knee injury, which means Paul Creighton will cross train at both tight end and fullback for the tilt with UTEP.
The possibility loomed that Vickers would be asked to shed some pounds and move to permanent tailback in the spring, with Jolly becoming a fulltime fullback. Vickers moving away from his fullback role seems unlikely now, but he said Friday it's too early to tell what the coaches will do.
Vickers also said he received a phone call from Jolly just before he got on his Texas-bound plane Thursday.
"He said, ‘I'm out. I love you all. Tell everybody to keep up the good work.'"