As reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith will undergo reconstructive surgery on Thursday. Smith had torn both his ACL and MCL in Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. With Smith injured, the 44 points that Notre Dame surrendered in the loss was a season high.
Smith had been projected to skip his upcoming senior collegiate season in order to enter in to the 2016 NFL Draft, where he has been projected as a high first-round pick. In Danny Shimon’s scouting report on Smith at Today’s Pigskin, Shimon appraised Smith as a complete and well-rounded talent:
Jaylon Smith’s speed, body control, ability to change direction and overall athleticism will make him a defensive weapon at the NFL level.
Smith must now decide whether or not he will enter the 2016 Draft, and if he does, NFL teams face a difficult decision as to whether they are willing to draft a rehabilitating player with their valuable first-round pick. In last year’s draft, two of the first seven picks — Dante Fowler of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kevin White of the Chicago Bears — sustained season-ending injuries before they were able to debut in their first regular-season game.