As if the Utah Utes football team needed any more bad news going into the 2014 season, they got some on Saturday, March 29 as linebacker Jacoby Hale suffered ACL and MCL tears in his knee during practice.
Hale, from Houston, was expected to replace NFL Draft prospect Trevor Reilly at the stud linebacker position -- and that possibility is still there depending on how Hale’s rehab goes, head coach Kyle Whittingham told the Deseret News.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s his senior year,” Whittingham said. “It’s not out of the question he could get rehabbed and get back at some point early or mid-season if everything goes well. We’ll just have to see how it goes.”
Hale’s injuries are not the first of his career; he suffered an ankle injury in 2012 that cut short his freshman year as well.
In short, losing Hale to injury hurts Utah’s chances at developing a pass rush -- but the Utes have been impressed by Miami transfer Gionni Paul and have depth at the position according to fan site Block U.
Utah fans are certainly concerned about losing Hale in injury as well, as illustrated by this tweet from Ute Football Central.
“Hate to see Utah lose Jacoby Hale. He was fantastic on the edge blitzes a year ago and was set to have a great season this year,” it tweeted.
Hale played in nine games last season, recording 37 tackles and had 6.5 sacks.