Unfortunate news struck the Houston Cougars this weekend, which will certainly have lingering effects felt next fall.
On Friday, the Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte first reported that Houston running back Alton McCaskill suffered a serious non-contact leg injury in practice that night. Then on Saturday, McCaskill confirmed in a statement on Twitter that he tore his ACL in his left knee:
It is absolutely painful for me to share with my Houston family,friends,and Coogs to say that I have torn my ACL. I am 100% dedicated to do everything I need to come back stronger and better than ever. To my teammates,coaches and trainers, we got this. Let’s be champions⚪️❤️— ALTO (@Alto_410) April 3, 2022
The ACL recovery schedule varies between athletes, with a general return timetable ranging from eight to nine months. Thus, it is possible McCaskill misses the entirety of the 2022 season.
McCaskill burst onto the scene as a true freshman and took over the No. 1 running back role for the Cougars. The Conroe, TX native nearly reached the 1,000-yard threshold, attaining 961 yards at 5.1 per carry. He especially made his mark near the goal line, where he recorded 16 rushing touchdowns — 10th in the FBS and first among true freshmen.
McCaskill also played a significant role in Houston’s 23rd ranked passing offense, corralling 21 receptions for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His final touchdown of the season was a 5-yard screen pass from Clayton Tune in the Cougars’ signature Birmingham Bowl win over Auburn.
The running back manufactured three 100-yard rushing performances last year, including a career-high 129 in a blowout win at Temple. The scoring machine also finished his impressive campaign with three hat tricks of touchdowns.
In the absence of McCaskill, senior Ta’Zhawn Henry will likely step into the No. 1 role on the depth chart. The former Texas Tech halfback earned significant playing time for Houston last season. He finished second on the team in rushing yardage and touchdowns with 524 and seven, respectively. Houston’s additional running back depth will be on display at the spring game this Friday at TDECU Stadium.