Terps linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil out for the season

October 14, 2013

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Maryland outside linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, a former walk-on transfer who worked his way into becoming one of the team’s most devastating blitzers, will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn pectoral muscle.

Cudjoe-Virgil, a junior, sustained the injury on Saturday afternoon, during the first quarter of Maryland’s 27-26 win over Virginia at Byrd Stadium. Team trainers examined Cudjoe-Virgil on the sidelines before escorting him into the locker room, where he changed into warm-ups and strapped on a bag of ice. Cudjoe-Virgil returned to watch the Terrapins earn their fifth win of the year and inch closer to bowl eligibility.

A native of Trinidad who immigrated to Baltimore with his mother, Cudjoe-Virgil spent two seasons at Division II Seton Hill (Penn.) University, a small Catholic school of 2,500 just outside Pittsburgh. Seeking greater opportunity for himself, he transferred to Maryland before last season and quickly a scholarship. This spring, the program’s coaching staff named him to its leadership council, a testament to the respect Cudjoe-Virgil earned on campus.

This season, backing up Marcus Whitfield at the “Will” linebacker spot, Cudjoe-Virgil had accumulated three sacks and 18 tackles in six games, most often featured in pass-rushing scenarios off the edge.

“I’ve accepted my role,” Cudjoe-Virgil said in early September, after recording seven tackles in his Maryland debut against Florida International. “Just as long as we win football games, that’s what’s good with me.”

His injury highlights the sudden rash of ailments incurred by the outside linebacking corps. “Sam” starter Matt Robinson will miss three to four weeks with a rotator cuff injury and Robinson’s backup Alex Twine was sidelined on Saturday with an apparent wrist problem.

On his Sunday teleconference with reporters, Coach Randy Edsall declined comment on both Cudjoe-Virgil and Twine, only saying no surgeries were necessary for any Maryland player this week. With Cudjoe-Virgil out, true freshman Yannick Ngakoue took snaps in his stead.

The athletics department recently featured Cudjoe-Virgil’s journey in a spotlight profile, titled “Work Ethic.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · October 14, 2013