Anio, who was in an emergency room tonight, is coming off a junior season that saw him finish fourth on the team for tackles, and tied for second on the team with five interceptions.
Losing the senior cornerback is a devastating blow to a Grambling secondary already missing its emotional leader Jeffery Jack, who played at rover. Anio came into 2009 with 118 career tackles at Grambling, 11 pass breakups and eight interceptions.
Anio also appeared in 12 games as a sophomore, and in eight as a freshman in 2006.
So, where does this leave Grambling’s secondary?
Desmond Lenard, who led the team in interceptions last season, would make a sensible every-day replacement for Anio — but it puts a strain on the team’s depth. Lenard was the perfect fifth cornerback in passing downs, and playing the role of overlooked nickel-guy only fed into his ball-hawking tendencies. Plenty of glory followed. Still, contributions by guys like Anio, who has improved by leaps and bounds every year he has played at Grambling, and Nigel Copeland are harder to quantify because, so often, their principal role has been to keep people from throwing their way.
Anio has also grown into a leadership role on the defense, even if he was never — who is? — as vocal as Jack. Whatever the timeline for his recovery (which could take longer, even as much as 9-10 weeks), this team will be poorer for Anio’s absence.