April 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Redshirt senior linebacker James Van Fleet tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at practice Wednesday, Blue White Illustrated reported today.
As is typical with most ACL tears, Van Fleet is likely out for the season.
Van Fleet had 10 tackles last season, including one for a loss. Anticipated to be a backup, Van Fleet's injury hurts Penn State's depth at linebacker.
Van Fleet has been a significant player in coverage on special teams. In 2010, he returned a blocked punt against Indiana for a touchdown.
Entering his final season, Van Fleet was in a position to make the biggest impact on defense in his collegiate career. He has always been known for his hard-nosed work ethic, walking onto the team as a freshman.
His loss puts pressure on potential starters to stay on the field and stay healthy. Reserves Michael Yancich and Mike Hull now have to pick up some slack.
Both have been praised by their teammates. Tailback Silas Redd said Hull is, pound-for-pound, the strongest player on the team.