Tarean Folston’s third carry of the 2015 football season will prove to be his last until 2016.
The junior running back, who paced the Irish in rushing last season with 889 yards, tore his right ACL on a 15-yard first-quarter run in Notre Dame’s 38-3 victory over Texas Saturday night. He was seen moments later flat on his back on a table along the Irish sideline, where doctors were working on him.
Shortly thereafter, teammate after teammate arrived at his side, seemingly consoling him, which usually is an indication that a player has suffered a season-ending injury. Irish head coach Brian Kelly confirmed that notion Sunday afternoon on his weekly in-season teleconference.
Kelly initially said Folston tore his MCL, but the school later issued a correction.
“Tarean had an MRI this morning and that showed an (ACL) tear, so he’ll begin the rehab process, have surgery in the next 10 days, and he’ll be lost for the season,” Kelly said.
Regardless of the specific ligament tear, Folston is gone for the balance of the campaign, which means C.J. Prosise – who rushed for 98 yards on 20 carries against the Longhorns -- will move into the starting role. Freshman Josh Adams, who gained 49 yards on five carries and scored two touchdowns against Texas, slides up a rung to the No. 2 spot. Ready or not, freshman Dexter Williams becomes the No. 3 man in the rotation.
“Dexter is going to be pressed into more duty as a freshman,” Kelly said. “We were hoping that his (move up the depth chart) would be less than what we had first thought. We’ll have to accelerate his learning curve and get him ready to pick up all facets.”
Kelly said former walk-on Josh Anderson, who was placed on scholarship during the pre-season, would now spend more time with the varsity as opposed to the scout team.
“Josh has really done well in pass protection, catching the ball and learning the offense,” said Kelly of Anderson. “Obviously, he’s going to get a lot more work while we’re also getting Dexter ready.”
Another running back option is sophomore Justin Brent, who moved to the b
ackfield from receiver after playing sparingly in 2014. Kelly did not mention Brent as an option for playing time.
“We like the guys we’ve got,” Kelly said. “That’s football. We’re certainly disappointed for Tarean. He’s worked so hard to get where he is. That’s the nature (of the game). There’s nothing you can do about it. You try to develop the depth in your program.
“We feel good about C.J., Josh (Adams) and Dexter, and we’re not complaining. We just move on. Those are the three guys we’ll get ready and we believe they’ll do the job just fine for us.”
In other injury news, fifth-year senior transfer safety Avery Sebastian – who was seen leaving the field Saturday night on crutches – suffered a break of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot. He, too, will have surgery performed by Notre Dame’s Dr. Brian Ratigan. Sebastian is expected to miss four-to-six weeks of action.