JMU loses Wilson for season

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

James Madison University redshirt junior and Handley graduate Jeremiah Wilson suffered a season-ending injury in the Dukes’ 38-31 win over Richmond on Oct. 12.

Wilson suffered a torn pectoral muscle, and JMU coach Mickey Matthews said the starting safety had surgery last Thursday.

Matthews said Wilson will likely be out for at least six months, which means he could also miss spring practice as well.

Wilson is fourth on the team in tackles with 35, and has one fumble recovery.

Matthews said the Dukes will move redshirt freshman Taylor Reynolds to Wilson’s safety spot. The Dukes moved wide receiver DeAndre Smith to cornerback in the win against Richmond, replacing Reynolds.

“We look smart now playing DeAndre at corner,” Matthews said. “He’s playing well there.”

Matthews said the plan originally was to have Smith play both offense and defense, but with Wilson’s injury Smith will now only play at cornerback.

“That’s just too many plays,” Matthews said. “We just don’t have the depth in the secondary anymore to be able to do that. [Smith’s] going to have to play the whole game on defense now.”

PERFECT BYE WEEK: Matthews said the Dukes’ open date last week couldn’t have come at a better time.

JMU was a little banged up going into it, and the team has had a chance to rest up and get healthy.

“We were really beat up going into the Richmond game,” Matthews said. “We were really concerned and certainly that was a really physical game.

“[The bye week] was a good thing. I would anticipate we would have a very good week this week.”

Matthews said many of the coaches were able to get out on the recruiting trail, and get a look at some possible future players.

He said the bye week has changed over the years, and now teams really look to take advantage of it even more than they did before.

“Most games we play 30-35 kids, maybe 40 kids, and the guys get tired,” Matthews said. “Certainly with the open date you get the opportunity to rest them, get their legs back.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Matthews said one change the Dukes have made in the bye week, is they’ve decided to have senior running back Dae’Quan Scott and freshman running back Khalid Abdullah on the field at the same time.

Matthews said one of the advantages of the move is it will allow them to rotate them on carries without having to substitute in the Dukes’ up-tempo offense. Matthews said they also want to use Scott more as a receiver as well.

“We’re trying to get Khalid and Dae’Quan in the backfield at the same time, because of DaeQuan’s skill set he can play wide receiver. That causes more substitution problems for our opponents,” Matthews said. “We worked on that last week. Khalid does not have the same receiving skills that Dae’Quan does, but he can still catch the ball out of the backfield.”

Scott has rushed for 773 yards on 161 carries and has seven rushing touchdowns. Abdullah has 189 yards rushing in just four games and two touchdowns. Scott is third on the team with 16 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Abdullah has two catches for six yards.

“We’ve always said Dae’Quan is great when you can get him in open space,” Matthews said. “Speaking as a defensive coach, when you have a guy that can do the things Dae’Quan can do, you’re not sure how they’re going to line up. A guy like Dae’Quan can cause a lot of matchup problems as far as defenses are concerned.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd