University of Miami

UM football won the game but lost a major player

Canes' RJ McIntosh happy to finally wear the 'Turnover Chain'

Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman RJ McIntosh speaks to the media during press conference after the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 4, 2017.​
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Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman RJ McIntosh speaks to the media during press conference after the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, November 4, 2017.​

The University of Miami has lost another major player to surgery, though whether he’s out for the season remains to be seen.

Redshirt junior defensive end Demetrius Jackson sustained a right-knee injury in Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech and was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday afternoon at the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.

A UM spokesman called it a “right lower extremity injury’’ and said that Jackson’s “status for the remainder of the 2017 season will be determined after the surgery.”

This season, the 6-3, 265-pound Jackson has played in seven games and is a major contributor as starting end Joe Jackson’s backup.

“Love my “TEAMMATES.” Finish strong!!! Minor setback for a major comeback,’’ Jackson posted on Twitter.

Jackson has 18 tackles and leads the Hurricanes with  7 1/2 tackles for loss. He also has  3 1/2 sacks, an interception, two breakups and a quarterback hurry.

Jackson, who has had knee problems in the past, also plays defensive tackle in certain situations.

UM’s defensive line is considered one of the best in the country, and with Jackson’s absence the Hurricanes will undoubtedly have freshman Jon Garvin, and perhaps freshman DJ Johnson, get more snaps.

The Canes (8-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), No. 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings, meet CFP No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) at 8 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Garvin already is emerging as a dominant player. In the Hurricanes’ 28-10 victory against the Hokies, he sacked quarterback Josh Jackson and recovered the fumble.

He also blocked a punt at North Carolina the previous week.

Johnson has played in five games, mostly on special teams, and has one tackle.

Jackson has not just excelled on the football field. He is a young man who empowers others off the field as well. He was selected as one of three ACC student-athletes to serve on the league’s Autonomy Committee and has, according to UM in the offseason, had more community service hours than any other UM student-athlete. He was awarded the ACC Top Six Award for Service and selected as UM football’s Community Service Man of the Year.

He has participated in 5,000 Role Models, a nonprofit group in Miami “that serves as an in-school dropout prevention program.’’

The Hurricanes already lost star running back Mark Walton to a season-ending ankle injury and reserve linebacker Jamie Gordinier and freshman receiver Evidence Njoku to season-ending knee injuries.

Jackson graduated from Booker T. Washington High, where he was named by the Miami Herald as the 2014 Miami-Dade Male Athlete of the Year.

He led Booker T. Washington to the Florida Class 4A state championship in 2013.

▪ UM’s final home game on Nov. 18 against Virginia, also known as Senior Day, will have a noon kickoff and be televised by ESPN or ABC.

▪ UM safety Jaquan Johnson became the seventh Hurricane honored by the ACC this season when he was named on Monday the conference’s Defensive Back of the Week.

Johnson, a 5-11, 190-pound graduate of Miami Killian High, tied for the team lead with seven tackles (six solo) against Virginia Tech, forced a fumble in the second quarter and picked off Josh Jackson in the third quarter. Johnson is a hard-hitting, smart player who leads the team with 58 tackles.

“Jaquan, he just never stops [amazing] me on the types of plays that he’ll make tackling,’’ UM coach Mark Richt told WQAM 560 on Monday. “Just open-field tackles, tackling bigger backs than he is. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s making a lot of plays. He makes a one-handed snag.’’

UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has raved about Johnson all season.

“Of course you want to lead by example,’’ Johnson said after the game.

He has two interceptions, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery and forced fumble this season.

▪ Richt told WQAM that UM is doing “great’’ in recruiting. “I mean it’s week after week after week we get so many great players on our campus.” Miami’s 2018 recruiting class is ranked fourth nationally by the major recruiting sites.

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