Sports

Lakewood Ranch High alum Austin Reiter latest Hometown Hero to suffer torn ACL this NFL season

Austin Reiter’s path to starting an NFL game became clear after the undrafted rookie was signed by Cleveland off the Washington Redskins’ practice squad in mid-September.

The former Lakewood Ranch High and University of South Florida standout made his first NFL start for the Browns on Sunday. But the Cleveland center became the latest Hometown Hero to suffer a devastating injury that wiped out his 2016 season.

Reiter tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a 31-20 loss to Washington, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“He did an outstanding job,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson told the Plain Dealer. “I was extremely happy and pleased with his play. He battled. He gave us an opportunity to run the ball extremely well. He did a great job in directing protections and doing those things.”

Reiter joined Southeast alum Mike Jenkins and Southeast alum Jonathan Dowling with torn ACLs this year.

Both Jenkins and Dowling, who played defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, respectively, tore their ACLs before the 2016 regular season began.

Josh Hicks — In a difficult day on the gridiron for Rutgers against national power Ohio State, Hicks was a bright spot for the Scarlet Knights. The Palmetto High alum flexed some versatility in amassing a team-high 77 all-purpose yards, which all came via kick returns. The Buckeyes pounded Rutgers 58-0.

Brian Poole — Part of the pipeline of secondary talent in the NFL from the area, Poole continues getting regular playing time with the Atlanta Falcons. Overshadowed by quarterback Matt Ryan’s 500-yard passing day and wide receiver Julio Jones’ 300-yard receiving day was Poole’s work on a defense that prevented defending NFC champion Carolina from stamping out Atlanta on Sunday. Poole defended two passes and added two tackles in the 48-33 victory.

Kwanzi Jackson — The Manatee High alum got his first college football action as a true freshman for Alcorn State. Jackson had an assisted tackle in a 52-10 loss to Arkansas.

Marquel Hines — Hines has 12 catches for 123 yards in five games at Ferris State. The Manatee High alum is a junior for the Bulldogs, who reached the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 semifinals last year.

Jajuan Pollock — Like Hines, Pollock is a Manatee High alum at Ferris State. And his stat line in the receiving game is almost identical. Pollock has 12 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown. He’s also thrown four passes, completing two of them and recorded one TD pass against one interception.

Jack Cen — A Saint Stephen’s alum, Cen ranks third on the Cornell men’s golf team with a 74.75 scoring average through three tournaments this season.

Toby Howell — A sophomore at Marquette, Howell is tied for second on the Golden Eagles’ men’s soccer team with seven points. The former Saint Stephen’s star has three assists and two goals this season.

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