Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
Isaac Ukwu is coming back for another season. JMU’s defensive end announced the news Wednesday on social media.
Ukwu mentioned that it has been his dream to play in the NFL, but he’ll put his NFL dreams on hold for another year. Ukwu, who dealt with significant injuries early in his JMU career, can certainly boost his draft stock with another strong season at the FBS level.
The defensive lineman finished with 40 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks in 2022, headlining a highly productive defensive line. He had a career-high seven tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in JMU’s loss to Louisville.
Ukwu has 87 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks in his JMU career. He missed the 2019 and 2020-21 seasons due to knee injuries.
JMU’s defense should be among the best in the Sun Belt next season, as the Dukes are expected to return several key contributors. Defensive tackle James Carpenter is expected back, as are defensive linemen Jalen Green, Jamree Kromah, Mikail Kamara, and Abi Nwabuoku-Okonji. At linebacker, JMU is expected to return both Taurus Jones and Jailin Walker, the team’s two leading tacklers in 2022.
Keeping Ukwu in the mix is a massive boost for the Dukes’ defense, and he’s also one of the most respected leaders on the team.