CMU football offensive lineman Keegan Smith suffers season-ending knee injury

Central Michigan offensive lineman Keegan Smith suffered a knee injury and will miss the 2022 season, coach Jim McElwain announced Monday.

"Keegan Smith re-injured that knee that he did the end of last season, so we'll be without Keeg," McElwain said Monday. "Yet, it wasn't a remake of the same injury, it's one we can get surgically done and he'll miss the season. But we still feel good about him being able to come back and be a great player for us." 

Smith suffered the injury in one of the team’s final fall camp practices. As a freshman in 2021, Smith played in 12 games with four starts. He suffered a knee injury in the regular season finale against Eastern Michigan that held him out of the Sun Bowl. Originally part of CMU’s 2020 recruiting class, he greyshirted the shortened 2020 season. 

Heading into 2022, the Jackson native was seeing time at both guard positions as well as at center backing up senior Jamezz Kimbrough prior to his injury. 

“Keegan’s done a really good job in camp,” said offensive line coach William Vlachos on Aug. 11. “I think the injury is behind him. He’s a passionate, emotional player that plays very hard. I kind of have an NFL mentality with how I rep these guys in practice. We’re not setting up one-trick ponies, they’re gonna play multiple spots. That just helps them with the next level if that’s what they choose to do. Keegan can play all three interior spots and we’ve repped him accordingly.” 

Currently, the Chippewas’ two-deep depth chart ahead of Thursday’s season opener at Oklahoma State lists Tyden Ferris and Deiyantei Powell-Woods as starting guards. Northern Colorado transfer Jeremy Saddler is backing up Ferris and the tandem of Vashon Bailey and Trevor Jones are behind Powell-Woods.