Maryland senior wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. is out for the season with a knee injury that will require surgery, coach Mike Locksley announced Tuesday.
Locksley didn’t specify the type of knee injury.
“I normally don’t get into all the specifics of it but I know he’s having something repaired on his knee,” Locksley said. “He’s flying down to Birmingham, [Alabama], to have them look at it down there. Once they make a determination, I’ll have a little more information.”
While returning a kickoff early in the second quarter during Friday night’s 51-14 loss to No. 4 Iowa, Demus was tackled at the 10-yard line, and his right leg appeared to buckle as he was twisted to the ground. He was immediately attended to by trainers. While being taken off the field on a cart, he appeared to say “I’m coming back” on the television broadcast while pointing to the field.
“Dontay is my brother on and off the field,” junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa said. “I was just trying to be there for him. I heard him like screaming on the field from the sideline. I immediately went over there to check to see if he was OK. I gave him water, and told him we got his back.”
Demus, who had four catches for 61 yards before leaving the game Friday night, was Maryland’s leading wide receiver and among the best in the country. He leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (503) and is sixth in touchdown catches (3), and he had 100 or more receiving yards in three of Maryland’s five games.
Demus had the most receiving yards in the first four games of the season by a Terp since Jermaine Lewis had 617 through the first four games of the 1993 season. He has caught a pass in 25 straight games, the 14th-longest reception streak in the country and fourth longest in Big Ten.
In the season-opening win over West Virginia, Demus posted a career-high 133 receiving yards on six receptions, including a 66-yard touchdown.
The question remains whether his return to the field will be in a Maryland uniform. Demus was working towards entering the 2022 NFL draft as he was recently ranked the No. 9 receiver in the draft class by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
“Obviously very devastating for a player that I felt was playing at a very high level,” Locksley said. “What that means for us is that the next man has to kind of pick up some of the slack.”
With Demus sidelined, Maryland will rely on its depth at wide receiver. Former five-star recruit Rakim Jarrett, who has 276 yards and four touchdowns this season, will likely take on the role as the Terps’ top target.Jarrett, who has played the majority of his snaps in the slot, might shift to the outside, where he’s only taken eight of his 189 snaps this season.
“Dontay was a great player,” said Jarrett, a sophomore. “I don’t really think you can fill the void that he left. It’s going to take all the other receivers to step up, including myself, to collectively do it. He was one of a kind.”
Junior receiver Jeshaun Jones is now listed as a starter alongside Jarrett and senior Darryl Jones. Jeshaun Jones has 218 yards on 17 receptions this season.
MARYLAND@NO. 7 OHIO STATE
TV: Chs. 45, 5
Radio: 105.7 FM
Line: Ohio State by 21