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Sealy (Texas) High four-star athlete Ricky Seals-Jones was carted off the field with his left knee in an air cast Thursday night, and what was expected to be a nationally televised showcase for one of the best athletes in the country quickly turned into a question surrounding his future.
Seals-Jones was injured making a tackle on Houston (Texas) St. Pius X running back Micah Massey in the final minute of the third quarter and remained on the ground following the play.
Minutes before the injury the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Seals-Jones -- who was playing in all three aspects of the game at quarterback, wide receiver, safety, and punt returner -- was treated for cramps, and many assumed that was what had slowed him from getting back to the defensive huddle.
Sealy head coach Jimmie Mitchell told the Houston Chronicle that he immediately knew it was more.
"I saw it down there and I'm sure everybody else did. It didn't look real promising," Mitchell told the paper.
The extent of the injury has not been determined, but speculation surrounding an injury to his ACL has surfaced in numerous reports.
Rivals.com Midlands recruiting analyst Jason Howell believes that even with a severe but non-career threatening ACL injury not much will change in Seals-Jones' recruitment.
"I don't think (the injury) will have any effect on his recruiting," Howell said. "Colleges will stay on top of him and let this play out, but with modern medicine players can come back quickly from an ACL. And since this happened so early in the year, his potential impact on the field is going to overwhelm any concerns that he won't get back to being the player he is right now."
Recent history would suggest that Howell is correct about Seals-Jones.
From the Class of 2012, several high profile players suffered ACL injuries with no effect to their recruitment. In the class of 2013, Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett linebacker Reginald Carter, Destrehan (La.) High receiver Rickey Jefferson, Oakdale (Minn.) Tarten cornerback Keelon Brookins, Statesville (N.C.) High quarterback Carlis Parker and Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral quarterback Hayden Rettig all suffered torn ligaments as juniors but maintained their offers and have returned to the field.
Jefferson, the lone receiver in the group, was back on the football field competing against many of the highest level players during the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge just 10 months after tearing his ACL.
That is a timetable that Howell believes to be realistic for Seals-Jones.
"Ricky is the type of kid who will put in whatever work is asked of him," he said. "He is such a special player that he could be back in time to be an impact player next season as a true freshman. There really may be no need to give him a redshirt."
Seals-Jones was expected to take an unofficial visit to Texas A&M this weekend as well as an unofficial to see Texas play West Virginia in early October. Those plans may be on hold.
Seals-Jones is the top-ranked athlete in the Class of 2013 and is the No. 24 overall player in the Rivals100. He has listed Baylor, LSU, Oregon, Texas, and Texas A&M among his final suitors and at one point had given his pledge to Texas before decommiting in early June.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was in attendance Thursday night and saw the injury, and Howell believes that the second-year coach still has Seals-Jones in his recruiting plans.
"Texas A&M has high hopes with Ricky," Howell said. "The injury will not change their perception of him. The potential impact he can bring at his position and with the ball in his hands is just too great."
Before his injury Seals-Jones had 213 yards rushing on 12 carries and scored three times.
Secondary to the injury, the Sealy offense sputtered after Seals-Jones left the field, being forced to punt twice and turning the ball over on downs without gaining a single first down in the game's final quarter.
Following the game St. Pius X quarterback and current Texas A&M commit Kohl Stewart took to Twitter to support his friend posting, "Everyone PLEASE pray for @RickySealsJones he's (an) unbelieveable talent and a heck of a friend. Stay strong man you played your butt off."
Dallas Jackson is the High School Football analyst for Rivals.com. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
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