More bad news for Rutgers football, as starting cornerback and arguably the best player on defense, Blessuan Austin, has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.
Ash: Blessaun Austin has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) September 25, 2017
Austin was injured in the second half in the loss to Nebraska on Saturday and had to be helped off the field. It didn’t look good at the time and today those concerns were confirmed. It’s a terrible blow for Austin, who was the only Rutgers player named as a All-Big Ten preseason selection and could have potentially entered the NFL Draft after this season. Now he will work to make a full recovery and hopefully be ready in time for the start of training camp next year. In terms of if Austin is eligible for a medical redshirt, Ryan Dunleavy reported that head coach Chris Ash was not sure:
Ash doesn't know if Blessuan Austin will be redshirt eligible. Injury happened in second half. #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) September 25, 2017
For the 2017 season, Austin finished with 12 tackles, 1 pass break up and 1 interception, which was a diving grab in the first half of the Nebraska game. He will be greatly missed in the Rutgers secondary the rest of the way.
The next man up is sophomore Damon Hayes, who has seen a lot of action already this season. His performance has been up and down, as he surrendered a 50 yard reception in the Washington game and was called for two pass interference calls in the loss to Eastern Michigan. However, he has had some good moments too and has a ton of potential. On the season, Hayes has 12 tackles, 1 for a loss, and 3 pass break ups.
For head coach Chris Ash’s thoughts on the Austin injury, Hayes as the replacement and depth issues that now exist, click here.
This is the second season in a row that Rutgers has lost their best player on one side of the ball during week four, as Janarion Grant suffered an ankle injury that ended his 2016 campaign in a 14-7 loss to Iowa. In regards to Grant, he missed Saturday’s game with concussion type symptoms and there has been no update on his status for the upcoming game this weekend against Ohio State.