CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami running back Mark Walton’s season is over, with the 11th-ranked Hurricanes saying Sunday that their leading rusher will need surgery on his right ankle later this week.
Walton got hurt during Saturday’s win at Florida State. Coach Mark Richt would not divulge specifics about the injury.
“I’m not a doctor, but it’ll be a season-ending surgery,” Richt said. “I think that’s pretty clear. I know it’s the type of surgery that guys that have had it recover 100 percent and never have an issue with that type of thing again. That’s the good news on that type of deal.”
The bad news is this: Walton leads Miami with 428 yards on the ground this season, with three touchdowns. Travis Homer (25 carries, 207 yards, three TDs) now figures to become the starter.
Homer had two big runs for a total of 24 yards on what became Miami’s winning drive at Florida State, playing after Walton went down earlier in the fourth quarter. The only other running back with a carry for Miami in 2017 is Trayone Gray, who has four for 34 yards. Moving all-purpose player Deejay Dallas to running back is also a possibility.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” Richt said.
The Hurricanes (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) came into this season thin at running back, especially after underclassman Joe Yearby decided to try turning pro after last season after Walton emerged as Miami’s top choice in the backfield.
Walton’s injury also raises the possibility that he has played his final college game. The junior, who recently became a father, will be eligible for the NFL draft next spring.
“I think this team understands that it’s football, it’s physical and guys get hurt,” Richt said.
Walton has 2,006 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns in 30 games at Miami. He’s the 11th player to run for 2,000 yards with the Hurricanes, and he’s tied for fifth in school history in TD runs.