Eric Gallon II won’t play another snap for Kansas State this fall. Or ever again.
Gallon, a fifth-year senior linebacker, suffered a brutal injury during a collision with teammate Landry Weber in the third quarter of Saturday’s win over then-No. 5 Oklahoma. During his weekly appearance on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday, K-State head coach Chris Klieman said Gallon has “a significant” knee injury.
“He’s going to be lost for the season,” Klieman said. “We’re sick about it.”
On the play, Gallon stripped the ball out of Oklahoma running back T.J. Pledger’s hands. Defensive back Ross Elder was in the right place at the right time, jumping on the ball to give possession to the Wildcats. But as Gallon flew by Pledger — Gallon extended his arm on his way just enough to knock it out of Pledger’s hands — his leg planted and ran into Weber. Gallon immediately collapsed on the field. After an extended delay in the on-field action while K-State’s medical staff looked at Gallon, he eventually was placed onto a stretcher and taken off the field in the back of a cart.
During Monday’s teleconference, Kliemen reiterated his assertion from Saturday: part of what makes Gallon’s injury so difficult to reckon with is that the Wildcats finally were finding more playing time for him.
“That was his most involvement in a game plan,” Klieman said, “especially on defense.”
Gallon took advantage of the extra opportunities, coming up with a pass breakup on Oklahoma’s previous offensive possession. Along with his pass breakup and forced fumble, Gallon also had one tackle Saturday.
For the season, Gallon had six tackles (five solo, one assisted). He is a K-State legacy, as his father, Eric Gallon, starred at running back in the early 1990s. The elder Gallon ran for 1,960 yards — still the 12th-most in school history — from 1989 to 1992, serving as a team captain during his senior season.
The younger Gallon, however, tried to carve out a legacy elsewhere to begin his college career, playing at Virginia in 2015 and 2016. As a true freshman, he started against North Carolina before leaving with another season-ending injury. During his sophomore campaign in 2016, he played in 10 games, collecting a tackle versus Oregon. He then joined K-State, sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy the NCAA’s transfer rules.
He played in three games last fall, recording a tackle against Texas-San Antonio.
Now, Gallon must undergo a season- and career-ending surgery.
“It makes you sad for any player,” Klieman said, “especially the fifth-year guys who put their heart and soul into a program.”