Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame’s Butkus Award-winning linebacker, left the Fiesta Bowl in the first quarter with what looks to be a major knee injury. The junior All-American’s leg twisted unnaturally after a play in the Notre Dame red zone, with Smith crumpling to the field. He was helped off by trainers before leaving the field on a cart with a brace on his knee.
The Fiesta Bowl was likely Smith’s last game as a Notre Dame football player, though he hadn’t declared whether or not he was entering the NFL Draft. Smith is projected to be an early pick and received a first-round evaluation from the NFL advisory committee.
No word from Notre Dame on the severity of the injury yet, but all indications are that it is a significant injury. Head trainer Rob Hunt was testing Smith’s knee for ACL damage before the knee was braced and Smith was carted off.