UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa must sit out the Bruins’ entire 2013 season after undergoing surgery on his right hip on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Unfortunately, this surgery comes on the heels of surgery to his left hip that caused him to miss the entire slate of spring practices and scrimmages.
At 6’3″ and 270 pounds, Odighizuwa developed into a force in his third season with the program in 2012, finishing 10th on the team with 44 tackles despite not playing every down. He was playing mainly behind Datone Jones, who was recently selected in the first round (26th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. A former five-star prep recruit, Odighizuwa had been expected to step in and take on the starting defensive end role when Jones departed, but instead he will be redshirting and coming back as a senior in 2014, CBS Sports reports.
It is a tough blow for an up-and-coming Bruins program that is expected to compete for a Pac-12 title in 2013.
Further, coach Jim Mora does not have very many experienced guys behind Odighizuwa who can immediately step up.
Brandon Willis is the most likely replacement, but the 6-foot-2, 280-pounder only appeared in six games as a sophomore in 2012, collecting five total tackles. Incoming freshman Kylie Fitts is an early enrollee who had actually been committed to USC before Trojans coach Lane Kiffin changed the arrangement of his scholarship at the last minute.
Senior Keenam Graham is a converted defensive end who is currently a linebacker in Mora’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Obviously, the team and Graham decided on the switch for a reason, but presumably he could fill in if need be as well.