Virginia’s defensive line had its most encouraging performance to date in last week’s resounding win over North Carolina State, but the Cavaliers will be without one of their rising stars when Miami comes to Charlottesville this weekend.
The team announced Thursday evening that freshman defensive end Eli Harold has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes for unspecified medical reasons.
The Virginia Beach native had provided Virginia’s defense with a spark in recent weeks, seeing his playing time increase as the season progressed. Harold received his first career start against the Wolfpack and had an interception, the first by a Cavaliers defensive lineman in three years.
Harold, the top recruit from the state of Virginia last year, has 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season.
One potential silver lining for Virginia is that senior defensive Billy Schautz was listed as questionable after missing the past five games with a hamstring injury. Senior Ausar Walcott and freshman Michael Moore (DeMatha) will also likely see increased action with Harold sidelined.
In addition, Virginia listed place kicker Ian Frye (knee) as questionable for Saturday’s game. Senior Drew Jarrett would handle kickoff and field goal duties if Frye can’t play. Special teams coach Anthony Poindexter indicated it would be a game-time decision.
Frye was hampered by the injury last week, missing a 22-yard field goal before being replaced by Jarrett. Jarrett handled kickoffs and connected on a 33-yard field goal.
Defensive tackle Chris Brathwaite, who earned ACC player of the week honors after recording two sacks at North Carolina State, was listed as probable for medical reasons.
Miami announced Thursday that safety Deon Bush (upper extremity) will miss Saturday’s game, and linebacker Denzel Perryman (lower extremity) is doubtful to play. That doesn’t bode well for a Hurricanes defense that is the worst in the ACC and allowing the second-most rushing yards per game in the country this year.