Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz discusses Brandon Snyder’s re-injury of his left knee. Chad Leistikow/The Register
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Brandon Snyder's 2017 football season has ended after one memorable game.
Iowa's junior safety has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee for a second time this year and is out for the year, coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. He will have a second surgery.
Snyder, a starter at free safety throughout his sophomore season, tore the ACL the first time during spring practices and had surgery in April. His quick return to the field was the inspirational highlight of Iowa's 45-16 victory over Illinois last month. Snyder played almost the entire game and had an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown.
But he also re-injured the knee in that game and hasn't played since. Ferentz hadn't detailed the nature of Snyder's injury until Tuesday.
"We'll look forward to getting him rehabbed and get him back for next season, but it's an unfortunate twist," Ferentz said.
Ferentz said he's doubtful Snyder would qualify for a medical redshirt since he came back from his initial injury and played in one game. Snyder also redshirted as a walk-on three seasons ago.
"We'll try it, but I'm not optimistic there," Ferentz said of applying for a medical redshirt.
The Iowa safety returned an interception 89 yards for a TD in his first game back from a torn ACL.
Ferentz defended the decision to bring back the Larchwood native so quickly, pointing to input from the team's medical staff and also the desires of Snyder and his family.
"There's risk in everything we do," Ferentz said. "I had questions months ago about it — what would the layout be — and I learned a lot, I got educated. We have an excellent medical staff here, but those guys don't live in a closet. They talk with people that have a lot of expertise in that area. ... I think we all felt he made the right move coming back. We were very conservative with his return, based on what he had tested and how he had passed through all the protocol."
Snyder was in on 80 tackles in 2016, with two interceptions. He was the only junior on the Hawkeyes' leadership team this season despite his injury.
"It's rare when you see guys so involved and so active, and he's been tremendous that way, and he'll get through this thing, and he'll play — he'll have a great year next year," said Ferentz, who expects Snyder to return to full speed in June.
"We'll have one hungry player and one very smart player and one very talented player on our hands, so that's a good thing."
Jake Gervase has been starting in Snyder's place and figures to do so again when Iowa (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten Conference) visits No. 3 Wisconsin (9-0, 6-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Amani Hooker is the starter at strong safety, and he returned an interception for a touchdown on the opening play of Iowa's 55-24 upset of then-No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday.
Snyder pushed himself to return to the field 5 ½ months after surgery, much quicker than the typical recovery time.
“They’re truly much more concerned about him, than him as a football player,” his father, Tim, told HawkCentral last month. "If he gets hurt or does something, it just happens. We’re very comfortable with where he’s at.”