IOWA CITY, Iowa — Just six months after an ACL tear, Iowa safety Brandon Snyder likely will compete in his first game this season on Saturday against Illinois.
Snyder, a junior, started all 13 games at free safety last year and led the Hawkeyes with 3 forced fumbles. He also tied for the team high with 3 interceptions and he had 4 pass breakups and 2 fumble recoveries.
“He’s been cleared,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think it’s fair to say he’ll be out there.”
It’s undetermined how much Snyder will play against the Fighting Illini.
For the first time this season, Snyder participated in team warmups in full uniform last week at Michigan State. He previously stood on the sidelines in warmups outfits.
Snyder tore his ACL in an early April practice. He had surgery in the spring but healed more quickly than originally predicted. It was expected he would return in November at the earliest and perhaps not until Iowa’s bowl game preparation in December.
Snyder was unsure of how long he’d be out during media day in August.
“It’s a long process and you just don’t really know,” he said.
Iowa’s defenders are excited for Snyder’s return.
“He’s getting work right now, working back in,” Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson said. “His leadership off the field has been great. I think when he comes back and plays, I think it will be even better.
“He knows the whole defense and he knows the calls to make. He’s a good leader.”
Snyder was one of Iowa’s hardest hitters last year and finished with 85 tackles. He ended last season with 3 tackles for loss.
He’s also one of the team’s most vocal leaders.
“We’re all happy for him as he works his way back,” Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann said. “Obviously it’s better for our team. He’s a good leader, a good player. We’re all happy he’s making good progress in his recovery.”
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