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Kansas State removes starting linebacker from depth chart ahead of rivalry game at KU

Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman didn’t have an injury update to share on Jake Clifton immediately after the sophomore linebacker was escorted to the locker room with a lower-body injury during a 59-25 victory over Baylor on Saturday.

But it now appears that Clifton will be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time while his body recovers.

The Wildcats removed Clifton from their depth chart on Monday. Instead of listing him as the team’s starting middle linebacker they now feature freshman Austin Romaine in that spot. Beau Palmer will serve as his back up and Rex Van Wyhe has been elevated to a backup at outside linebacker.

That is not a good sign for Clifton’s availability against Kansas on Saturday. Clifton, a skilled defender who had made 24 tackles for the Wildcats this season, will likely miss that game and potentially others.

His injury is unfortunate news for the Wildcats, because Clifton was beginning to hit his stride as a playmaker. K-State recently elevated him to a full-time starter and he played magnificently against Texas when he made eight tackles and always seemed to be around the ball.

K-State will also be thin at linebacker without him, as it is has already lost Daniel Green and Asa Newsom to season-ending injuries.

Romaine is a solid replacement option, though. The freshman has made 18 tackles this season, including three for loss, while playing in all nine games and making three starts.