The Southern Miss football defense has been dealt a significant blow, losing linebacker Hayes Maples for the season, a person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Hattiesburg American. 

The person requested anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

Maples suffered a lower extremity injury last week, according to the source. 

The loss of Hayes is a significant one for the Golden Eagles. But USM has a relatively deep linebacker room to choose from as the Southern Miss staff looks to sort out a replacement. 

Maples was a second-team All-Conference USA selection in 2020 and 2021 and appeared on the conference’s All-Freshman team in 2019. 

The Oak Grove product was second among Golden Eagles defenders last season with 60 tackles, and tied for fifth with 4.5 tackles for loss. 

In 2020, Maples led Southern Miss with 91 tackles. 

The Southern Miss defense ranked 88th in the country last season, allowing 30.5 points per game. 

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