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Rutgers Football Spring Practice Injury Report

T.J. Taylor

T.J. Taylor


The Rutgers football team’s linebacker crew took a hit when head coach Kyle Flood announced that redshirt sophomore outside linebacker T.J. Taylor went down and is out for the season with an ACL injury, but is optimistic he’ll be back in the future. “He’s a really talented football player that’s got a bright future in our program,” Flood said after practice of Taylor. “It’s just going to take a little longer than we all wanted.”

In addition to Taylor, who was backing up redshirt senior Quentin Gause at the strong side, middle linebacker Nick Rafferty (upper body) is also listed as out according to the injury report. The “out” description means he could be out for a few practices or have an ailment that will linger.

In light of the injuries, redshirt sophomore running back/fullback Devan Carter has shifted to linebacker to provide depth. “We made a move to move a guy who is a good athlete and a high-intangible guy and somebody who is a smart football player, and now we’ll see if he can help us on defense,” Flood said.

Flood is happy so far with junior college transfer Isaiah Johnson with his progress at middle linebacker. Johnson’s progress is vital to the team as depth is becoming scarce with redshirt freshman middle linebacker Brandon Russell limited in the spring which opened up a grand opportunity for Johnson to seize a spot a top the depth chart.

“I’m pleased right now,” Flood said of Johnson. “We’re still in the installation phase, so it’s a little early to judge anybody. That time will come a little bit later this spring after everything (is) in and (worked on) a little more than it is right now. He’s getting a lot of reps, he’s making plays, and he’s certainly playing football the way we want him to and running to the football. So, all the things we saw when we recruited him we’re seeing out there right now.”

The injuries leave the Scarlet Knights with five healthy linebackers this spring in Gause, Johnson, redshirt junior weak side linebacker Steve Longa, redshirt freshman Eric Margolis, and early enrollee freshman Deonte Roberts. The Knights will welcome South Carolina transfer Kaiwan Lewis to the fold come summer time. Lewis will have one-year of eligibility remaining, and will battle for the middle linebacker spot.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph is listed as “out” by Flood on the report which opens up an opportunity for redshirt freshman Kevin Wilkins. Joseph and Wilkins are battling for a starting spot at nose tackle. “It’s tremendous,” Flood said regarding Wilkins’ chance to step up. “It’s an opportunity to really increase his reps, and for him to show us what he can do. Playing that position at that young of an age is hard, but he has the body to do it, he’s got the talent to do it and now he’s going to get a chance to get some of the experience that he’ll need to react as quickly as we need him to.”


Full injury report 4/8/15

CB Nadir Barnwell: Upper body, Limited

CB Anthony Cioffi: Upper body, Limited

DB Saquan Hampton: Upper body, Limited

WR Ntwademela Perry: Lower body, Limited

LB Brandon Russell: Lower body, Limited

WR Janarion Grant: Lower body, Out

OL Zack Heeman: Lower body, Out

RB Paul James: Lower body, Out

NT Sebastian Joseph: Upper body, Out

LB Nick Rafferty: Upper body, Out

LB T.J. Taylor: Lower body, Out


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