Utah State won the Mountain West Conference last season despite losing quarterback Chuckie Keeton, its best player, during the season to a torn ACL. The Aggies will try to repeat as MWC champs this season without their best defensive player.
Junior outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) -- whose size, athleticism and pass-rush skills make him a definite NFL prospect -- will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
"It's hard to see a guy, especially of his caliber, go through something like that," sophomore linebacker Nick Vigil told the Cache Valley Daily News of Logan, Utah. "A guy that could potentially go to the league after this year."
Fackrell was injured early in the second quarter of Sunday's loss at Tennessee, then returned to the game. He left the game for good late in the first half.
"He was in just a little bit of pain," Aggies coach Matt Wells said of Fackrell's initial injury, per the Daily News. "Not enough to keep him out. Structurally it was good and everything was OK from that standpoint to put him back in."
Fackrell, who has been clocked as fast as 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was seen as a potential top-60 player by some analysts. He remains somewhat raw when it comes to technique and can struggle in coverage.
Last season, Fackrell made 82 tackles, five sacks, 13 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. He was one of just four returning starters on defense for the Aggies.
Junior Corey Green (6-2, 220) is Fackrell's likely replacement.