Coach Kleiman stated during his off-week press conference that Sammy Wheeler will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an injury during the Oklahoma State game.
Wheeler, a legacy recruit out of St. James Academy in Lenexa, Kansas, started his career at quarterback before transitioning to tight end during the spring of his redshirt freshman year. At 6’4, 225 pounds, Sammy provides a tall, athletic pass catching option from the tight end position. While his move to tight end has paid dividends, this is his second straight season that has ended with injury.
Last season, a knee injury against Kansas ended Wheeler’s season after he played an important role in the upset of Oklahoma. Frustratingly for Sammy, this season has ended in a similar manner. His 58 yard reception against Oklahoma State was the longest of his career to date, and was followed by a season ending knee injury. This is one of those situations where bad things keep happening to a selfless, hard working player.
To exacerbate the Wheeler injury, starting tight end and key weapon Briley Moore is also out for an unspecified amount of time. I don’t expect him back anytime soon. This leaves the tight end position woefully thin for the immediate future. I expect former starting tight end Nick Lenners to move back to tight end after seeing limited at fullback this year. Other than Lenners, redshirt freshman Konner Fox and true freshmen Will Swanson and Cody Stufflebean could potentially step into the lineup, but it appears numerous freshmen are in the Covid protocol at the moment.
Tight end has become a key cog in the offense with the addition of Briley Moore, but I anticipate more 3 and 4 wide receiver formations with Wheeler and Moore both out of action. Having an off week should help get everyone acclimated, but the Covid outbreak will limit practice time. It’s 2020 and everything is terrible.
Get well soon Sammy, let’s try it again in 2021.