ALBANY — Whether junior running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks makes his season debut this Saturday against Monmouth will come down to a game-time decision.
That was how University at Albany football head coach Greg Gattuso described the outlook Wednesday for his team’s top offensive star.
“Nothing’s changed,” Gattuso said. “We’re waiting to see how he does all week and [we’re] just going to make a decision after warmups if he can go or not.”
Ibitokun-Hanks reinjured his surgically-repaired left knee a month ago. He rejoined practice this week and worked Wednesday with the Great Danes’ first-team offense days before the team’s home opener Saturday night at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
“Right now,” Gattuso said, “everything looks positive.”
Without Ibitokun-Hanks, the Great Danes (1-1) have still been able to move the ball on the ground through their first two games. Freshman Karl Mofor has taken the most carries for the Great Danes, and has averaged 5.1 yards per carry. As a team, UAlbany is averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 156.0 yards per game this season.
Gattuso said he expected his squad to be able to run the ball without Ibitokun-Hanks, but expects the junior star to make UAlbany’s offense more potent when he does return.
“It’s our system and we believe in it,” Gattuso said. “Elijah just makes us better if he can play.”
Before tearing the ACL in his left knee in UAlbany’s final game last season, Ibitokun-Hanks rushed for 1,388 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016.
On the strength of that campaign, Ibitokun-Hanks earned preseason All-CAA and STATS FCS…
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