UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, one of the top defenders in college football, will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Bruins coach Jim Mora confirmed the news Wednesday, and said Thursday that the injury is a torn meniscus that will require a 4-6 month recovery, per Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register. The Los Angeles Daily News' Jack Wang reported Mora said Thursday that he's uncertain about whether Jack will return to UCLA or apply for entry into the 2016 NFL Draft and would discuss the decision with Jack in November.
UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said Jack suffered the injury toward the end of Tuesday's practice, per Kaufman. Jack, a junior, could be eligible for either the 2016 or 2017 NFL Draft, depending on whether he returns to the Bruins for his senior season next year.
"He's an elite talent," said NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah on Wednesday. "I hate to see this happen, but I don't think it will affect how NFL folks evaluate him if he decides to enter the 2016 NFL Draft."
Jack's decision on whether to turn pro isn't unlike that of UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau, who was also lost for the year with an injury. Both players could either choose to turn pro in 2016 or play for UCLA. Moreau's 2015 season was short enough to qualify for a redshirt, so he could return as a fifth-year senior next year.
Rather than thinking about himself or his injury, Jack posted a tweet in support of the team's effort to replace him on Tuesday:
A two-way player for the Bruins who sees some part-time action as a running back, Jack was rated the No. 1 linebacker in college football in the preseason by NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein. He had made 15 tackles in three starts on the season, with an interception and a pass breakup. His defensive role was beginning to expand, as he played multiple linebacker positions this year. He had two carries for 7 yards and a touchdown as a rusher.