What we know
-- He is injured
-- It is foot/leg related (likely Achilles)
What we don't know
-- If it needs surgery
-- How long he will be out
-- If he'll apply for a medical redshirt
-- If the NCAA will grant him a medical redshirt
McLaughlin redshirted his freshmen year. Although an additional medical redshirt in this sort of situation is common, they are never guaranteed. If he is unavailable for most of the season, it will be a huge setback for the team as a whole. Forget the subjective "leadership" role he filled. His production and importance to the defense was critical. His consistency was one of the reasons we were so strong against the run. His ability to cover space also allowed Herzy to rush the passer more. And as we saw against Maryland, McLaughlin is a playmaker in his own right.
The team has good depth at linebacker but outside of Herzy the rest of the guys are either young and/or untested. The only silver lining is that if he gets a redshirt, his extended career and time off will serve the team well in 2010 (like Raji and Toal's return did in 08, and how we hope Albright will provide a spark in 09).
I'll have more in this as the news trickles out.