According to a release on Monday, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be without their greatest special teams weapon for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Jamal Golden, the team’s kick and punt returner, has been scheduled for shoulder surgery this week, and as a result, he won’t be returning to the team this year. In addition to his special teams responsibilities, the junior has started 3 games at safety this year, and his absence will be felt in a significant way in both places.
There was some buzz that Golden could actually play in last week’s game with Virginia Tech after being injured against North Carolina, but in the end, Paul Johnson indicated that the risk of greater damage was far too great to allow him to play.
For his career, Golden has averaged more than 28 yards per kickoff return, and he returned 2 kicks for touchdowns during his sophomore campaign in 2012. Defensively, the 6-foot, 188-pound safety has been extremely valuable also, and his absence coupled with that of Isaiah Johnson could be crippling to the Tech secondary moving forward.
It is fortunate that Golden didn’t take the field against VT, as he is still eligible for a medical redshirt on account of the fact that he didn’t play more than 30% of the team’s schedule this season. Tech fans can hope that the NCAA grants him an additional year of eligibility, and if granted, we’ll see him with the Jackets for 2 more seasons.