James Madison pass-rusher Jalen Green will miss the rest of the season after suffering a significant knee injury in Saturday’s win over Georgia State, the school announced Monday. Green leads the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss.
JMU coach Curt Cignetti said it was a non-contact injury suffered when Green pivoted to chase the QB on a scramble play in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game.
The injury will require surgery, the school said.
Through nine games, Green has 15.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss, along with seven QB hurries, an interception (returned for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles. He needed just five more sacks to break Elvis Dumervil’s FBS record.
“We’ve got a couple other guys in the mix who could see increased playing time,” Cignetti said. “Amar Thomas at defensive end and Mychal McMullin at defensive tackle. We’ll be 2-deep plus on the defensive line. We’ll figure it out. We’ve got some flexibility. But you can’t replace a guy like Jalen. He had probably more production as a pass-rusher than anybody in the country this season.”
Green had already set the Sun Belt Conference single-season record for sacks and was one sack shy of the program’s all-time record. JMU joined the Sun Belt last season after moving up from the FCS level. He also set the school record with five sacks in a game on Oct. 19 vs. Marshall.
“Everybody feels really bad for him,” Cignetti said. “He was having a tremendous season, had a chance to break the sack record: 15 and a half sacks, 21 TFLs, he put a lot into this season. The silver lining would be he attracted the NFL scouts’ attention, which I know is his goal, to play in the league. He’s had a lot of interest in the NFL the last few weeks.”
A Baltimore native, Green is a redshirt senior, WHO also missed the entirety of the 2020-21 season with an injury, but Cignetti said Monday that Green is not eligible for a medical hardship waiver and will not be able to return next season.
“He’s disappointed, but he’s a mature guy,” Cignetti said. “He’s got dreams of playing in the NFL. He’s got to have that surgery and go through the rehabilitation process and get ready for his opportunity.”
Cignetti said Green had “a lot of interest from the NFL in the last few weeks”
JMU is 9-0 on the season, but because it is in an NCAA-required transition year from FCS, it is not eligible for the Sun Belt championship game or any postseason appearances and will not be ranked by the College Football Playoff committee. The Dukes are 21st in the CFP rankings. They’ll face off against UConn at home on Saturday.