A right knee injury characterized by Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly as "significant" will almost certainly finish running back Jonas' Gray breakout senior campaign. The injury may, in fact, end his collegiate career.
The injury occured during Saturday's win over Boston College. While results of the MRI have not yet been released, sources close to the Notre Dame program believe that Gray tore his MCL and perhaps other ligaments, as well.
The injury is a particularly sad one for Gray, as he'd finally become the productive runner he was hyped to be when signing with Notre Dame as a highly touted prep player.
Gray, 5-10 and 230 pounds, had rushed for 791 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns so far this season. He entered the campaign having rushed for just 309 combined yards over his first three years with the team and had started only one game (he rushed for 18 yards on nine carries in 2009 against Purdue) during that time.
This year, however, Gray had appeared to have a new lease on life. Blessed with surprisingly quick feet and athleticism for a back of his size, Gray teamed with 6-0, 215 pound junior Cierre Wood to give the Irish their most formidable rushing attack in years.
Due to the fact that Gray has not used a redshirt during his collegiate career, he may elect to petition the NCAA for a medical hardship. Considering that the injury occurred so late in the season, however, the NCAA isn't likely to rule in his favor.
As such, the injury could force Gray to begin preparation for any chance at being drafted (or signed as a free agent) in the NFL earlier than he would have hoped.
Even with Gray's impressive senior campaign he is viewed by NFLDraftScout.com as a marginal prospect, at best. Gray is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 55 running back for the 2012 draft. As a point of reference, last year there were 31 running backs (including fullbacks) drafted.