Michigan has already had to spend three games without star cornerback Jourdan Lewis this season, and now the Wolverines will be without cornerback Jeremy Clark for the remainder of the campaign.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed to reporters Monday that Clark is done for the year with a torn ACL, an injury he suffered in this past weekend’s win over Penn State, having to be carted off the field.
Clark made 13 combined starts during the 2014 and 2015 seasons and started each of the first four games of this season. He came away with three interceptions a season ago. This year, he made 10 tackles and broke up three passes.
Harbaugh said there will be an attempt on Michigan’s part to get Clark another year of eligibility, but the NCAA will ultimately make that decision. By rule, a player needs to play in fewer than 30 percent of his team’s games to qualify for a medical hardship waiver.
The Wolverines will certainly miss their senior cornerback. Through four games, Michigan has been one of the country’s finest defenses, ranking 11th in total defense (269.8 yards per game), 12th in passing defense (147.3 yards per game) and 13th in scoring defense (13.8 points per game).
News of the season-ending injury for Rutgers star Janarion Grant hit Sunday, a brutal break for the Scarlet Knights, who lose their best player and biggest scoring threat.
Monday, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash confirmed the season-ending injury and told reporters that the school would petition the NCAA for another season of eligibility for Grant, a senior.
“Obviously we'll try to petition for one,” Ash said when asked about a potential fifth season for Grant.
“We'll do it but someone else has to make the decision whether they are going to allow it to happen or not based on all the criteria. It's not up to me, the AD or anybody here at Rutgers. We'll submit the necessary documents to try to petition for it, but it's up to somebody else to make that decision. And you know, you see it all the time in college football, some people get it, some people don't. You're never really sure.”
The tricky part about that is the NCAA’s rule about medical hardship waivers requiring a player to play in fewer than 30 percent of a team’s games during a season in order to qualify for such a waiver. Grant’s played in four of Rutgers’ 12 scheduled contests this season, more than 30 percent.
We saw a similar situation in the Big Ten this past offseason, when the NCAA took a very long time to determine the fate of Iowa defensive end Drew Ott. Ott eventually was denied a waiver and an extra year of eligibility.
Should the same fate await Grant, this would be the end of his collegiate career. It’s obviously a big blow for Rutgers, which could certainly use the guy who’s racked up 655 all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns this season and 4,251 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns in his four-year career. It’s also quite a shame for Big Ten fans, who won’t get to watch one of the sport’s most electrifying players for the remainder of the season.