Nation's top RB out for season after ACL tear in opener

Taj Griffin, the nation's top-ranked all-purpose running back, tore an ACL during his squad's season opener and will be lost for the year — Twitter

Taj Griffin, the nation’s top-ranked all-purpose running back, tore an ACL during his squad’s season opener and will be lost for the year — Twitter

Georgia power McEachern got more bad news in the two days since its Saturday night shootout loss to North Gwinnett: It will also now be without its supernova star, running back Taj Griffin, for the remainder of the 2014 campaign.

As first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Griffin suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while trying to make a tackle on a special teams play during the fourth quarter of McEachern’s Corky Kell Classic face off against North Gwinnett. The torn ACL was diagnosed after MRI results on Monday, changing the tenor of previous reports that he had only suffered a knee sprain.

Griffin is rated the nation’s top all-purpose running back — and a top 40 overall recruit — by 247Sports and has committed to play at Oregon, where his brother has transferred to play quarterback. Now he’ll shift his focus to a fierce rehabilitation program to ensure he can be ready to compete for the Ducks come fall 2015.

You can see two very impressive touchdowns during Friday’s game below, which give plenty of credibility to Griffin’s spot in the national rankings.

“It’s clearly a disappointment,” Griffin’s father, Herb Griffin, told the Journal-Constitution. “It’s something you don’t want to ever have happen. It’s one of those things that is part of the game. Sooner or later, if you play football, something is going to happen and you’ve got to deal with it. So we’re having to deal with it. And we’ll start rehab as soon as we can.

“But you know, he’s in positive spirits. He’s getting his mind right to go through rehab and to get his mind right for next level.”

According to the Journal-Constitution, Griffin will schedule a knee surgery to repair the damage from the injury in the coming two weeks. McEachern, which entered the season as the 15th-ranked team in the USA Today Super 25, but its 52-49 loss to North Gwinnett dropped it from the national rankings. McEachern has an off date this weekend but will return to action with a game at Buford on Friday, September 5.