Fresno State cornerback Bryan Harper and free safety Justin Holmes quit the team on Tuesday, which will impact the depth at position groups in a secondary that has struggled much of the season.
"Both of them are leaving for personal reasons," coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We appreciate their contributions and we wish them well in the future."
Harper, a redshirt sophomore who transferred to Fresno State from Arizona, started the first two games this season but struggled in coverage and tackling in the open field. He was excused from practice on Monday while at home in Los Angeles to tend to a family issue.
Holmes, a redshirt freshman from Edison High, was a no-show at practice with the Bulldogs preparing for a key Mountain West Conference game on Friday against San Diego State.
The Bulldogs, ranked 10th in the conference and 107th in the bowl subdivision in passing defense allowing 277.8 yards per game, have been reworking their secondary with Charles Washington working at both strong safety and cornerback.
Harper and Holmes didn't figure high in the equation -- neither was listed on the two-deep this week. But the departures do cut into the depth at positions DeRuyter and his staff have been trying to rebuild since they arrived at Fresno State. They will now accelerate the timelines for freshman cornerback Anthoula "Tank" Kelly and freshman safety DeShawn Potts.
"We're going to take a look at some young guys," DeRuyter said. "Tank Kelly is a guy we think very highly of -- we're going to take a look at him at corner. At safety, we already had DeShawn in the mix last week in special teams. It's going to end up pushing the calendar up for those guys. We'll see how quickly we can get Tank ready, but we were already going to have him in a backup role on special teams and they're one or two plays away from having to play potentially so we have to get those guys ready to go.
"We're not necessarily going to take their (redshirt) off yet, but you have to have a plan just in case."