LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith out for the season with torn ACL

·2 min read

LSU’s worst fears were realized on Monday when an MRI confirmed that starting defensive tackle Maason Smith has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.

Smith left Sunday night’s 24-23 loss to Florida State on the opening drive when it appeared he injured his knee while celebrating. Smith went to the locker room and emerged in the second half wearing street clothes. He was on crutches and wearing a knee brace.

It goes without saying that this is a massive loss for the defense. Smith, a former five-star recruit who made four starts in nine appearances as a true freshman last fall, appeared poised for a breakout. Now, LSU’s vaunted defensive line appears concerningly thin on the interior.

Mekhi Wingo will now assume a starting role at defensive tackle. A transfer from Missouri, Wingo appeared in 11 games as a true freshman last fall and earned Freshman All-SEC honors.

Losing Smith puts even more pressure on edge rusher BJ Ojulari, who is seen as the leader of the defense. He’s considered one of the nation’s best edge defenders, but LSU struggled to get much of a pass rush outside of him against FSU.

Despite the near-comeback, not much went well for the Tigers in coach Brian Kelly’s debut, and they’ll have to move forward without one of their top players.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire