Just two days into training camp, the Rutgers defense has suffered its first setback of the season. Returning starter at strongside linebacker, Tyreek Maddox-Williams, injured his ACL during a non-contact drill on Tuesday, per a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media.
The sophomore started the last six games of last year’s campaign after Greg Jones was lost for the season due to injury. He registered 47 tackles and showed promise at times. His best statistical performances last season were an 11 tackle game versus Ohio State and a 10 tackle effort in a 1 point loss at Minnesota. The 6’0” linebacker and former 3-star recruit from Timber Creek high school seemed ready to improve on his rookie debut season and to become a staple in the middle of the defense. It’s obviously a big disappointment for Maddox-Williams, but he will be able to take a medical redshirt and have three seasons of eligibility still remaining.
As for candidates to now compete for the starting job at strongside linebacker, there are several veterans who have a chance to step up. Fifth year senior and former Michigan transfer Ross Douglas was moved to linebacker in the spring. Other candidates include redshirt senior T.J. Taylor, as well as redshirt juniors Eric Margolis and Brandon Russell. Of course, Rutgers welcomes several talented freshman into the mix as well, including 4-star recruit Tyshon Fogg and 3-star prospects C.J Onyechi, Syhiem Simmons, and Olakunle Fatukasi.
The only positive to take from this injury news is that Rutgers does have a lot of options at the linebacker position. Head coach Chris Ash had said on Monday that he wants this position group to contribute on special teams this season and expect that goal will remain, despite the loss of Maddox-Williams.
We wish Tyreek a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the field in 2018!