A university spokesman confirmed on Tuesday night that freshman DE Chris Wormley tore his ACL in practice today (August 14th). Sam Web, of Scout.com, broke the news over Twitter and was then verified minutes later.
Chris Wormley was expected to have a decent impact in the rotation for Michigan's men up front, but he will now have to wait another year before he gets his opportunity. Recovery from an ACL tear takes several months, and getting back to 100% is never a guarantee. This means Michigan is now on even thinner ice with their defensive line. Wormely, in all likelihood, was not going to be starting this season. However, he was planned to be a part of the regular rotation and make a pretty sizeable impact for a freshman.
With the departure of Mike Martin into the NFL, the Wolverines were already facing major set backs in depth, and this is certainly not helping the situation. Wormley was making his case for playing time at strong side DE. He is listed at 6'6", 270 pounds with quick feet and powerful legs. That is exactly the brand of player Brady Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison were looking for in Wormley's class of 2012. It was a quick Fall for Wormley, but it was obvious that he would be bringing a lot of potential, as well as immediate impact, for the Wolverines up front.
Of course, one card affects the rest of the deck. Wormley's teammates will have to step it up with that missing piece out of the rotation, and it won't be easy. Craig Roh will be leading the charge for the Wolverines. While Roh is certainly a very reliable anchor up front, his role will once again be increased.
Two other freshman who will now be battling for more playing time at DE are Tom Strobel and Matthew Godin. Strobel is a more similar player to Chris Worley than Godin is, but that doesn't necessarily mean the advantage goes to him. The Wolverines don't have a lot of depth right now, meaning Mattison will be forced a lot of the time to go with the classic "who's hot" rule. Whoever can step in and prove they have what it takes to become part of the rotation will get the job.
It is worth noting that this is the second major injury to the Wolverines this fall, as WR Roy Roundtree has to receive knee surgery of Friday. He is expected to be back the week of the opener against Alabama.