For the second season in a row, Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink’s season could come to a premature close.
According to Western Michigan football’s Twitter, head coach Tim Lester announced that Wassink would undergo right foot surgery this week.
WMU head coach Tim Lester has announced QB Jon Wassink will have surgery on his right foot this week. His timetable for recovery is still TBD. True freshman Kaleb Eleby will be WMU starting QB moving forward.— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) October 29, 2018
This news comes several days after Wassink’s start in a 51-24 Thursday night loss to Toledo. On the opening drive of the game, the junior quarterback scrambled down the left sideline in hopes of reaching the sticks, but his right foot was tripped up during the tackle.
A limping Wassink returned for the second drive of the game, throwing two passes on a three-and-out before permanently checking out of the contest.
On the Friday morning following the game, Andy Pepper of WWMT reported that Wassink is most likely done for the year with torn ankle ligaments.
I have been told by two reliable sources within WMU football program that Broncos QB Jon Wassink is most likely done for the year with torn ankle ligaments. WMU has not yet confirmed officially. If true, this would be 2nd straight season ending injury for the Jr. standout— Andy Pepper (@APepperWWMT) October 26, 2018
If this holds, the second-year starter will suffer a season-ending injury for the second-consecutive year. Just 366 days prior to this foot injury, Wassink broke his collarbone in a 20-17 overtime win over Eastern Michigan. At that point in the 2017 season, the Broncos were 5-3 and dropped three of their next four games without Wassink — spurned from a bowl bid.
During this late-season push, the 6-3 Broncos will be anchored by true freshman quarterback Kaleb Eleby. The youngster from the St. Louis area amazed in a spectacular debut Thursday. Eleby completed his first collegiate pass, a screen to true freshman receiver Jayden Reed, for a 25-yard touchdown. And the success just continued from there. Heading into halftime, he was 8/8 with 146 passing yards and two touchdowns — thanks to a 63-yard downfield strike to Reed.
Eleby finished with a sky-high completion percentage of 82% on 28 passes. He was seven yards shy of hitting the 300-yard mark in his Western Michigan debut and he added to his success with two touchdown passes and zero turnovers. His first career start will occur in Kalamazoo against Ohio this Thursday. Trotting out a first-time starting quarterback, Western Michigan still controls its own destiny in the conference heading into the matchup versus the Bobcats.
For Wassink, a return seems highly improbable this season. After another successful campaign featuring 1,994 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, and six rushing touchdowns, he will have to watch the end of the Broncos’ promising season from the bench.