The Southern California Trojans have announced that redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He suffered the right knee injury during voluntary workouts.
As a result of the injury, he’ll be forced to miss the entire 2014 season. Bigelow hasn’t played yet since arriving on campus as one of the highest-rated recruits in the country during the 2013 recruiting period by head coach Lane Kiffin.
He came out of high school as the 9th overall prospect. In addition, he was the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country.
Of the Top 35 defensive lineman prospects, Bigelow is already behind the eight-ball. Ole Miss Rebels’ Robert Nkemdiche, UCLA Bruins’ Eddie Vanderdoes, Auburn Tigers’ Montravius Adams, Tigers’ Carl Lawson, Mississippi State Bulldogs’ Chris Jones and Alabama Crimson Tide’s A’Shawn Robinson all seen time during their freshman campaign.
As a contributor, they’ve all shown promising signs that they’re going to have good futures. Bigelow’s future is up on the air until he finally gets an opportunity to get on the field.
With this injury, he’s also going to be further behind his peers. Plus, with a torn ACL, there’s always the chance that he may not be able to play at a top level anymore. Time will tell if that’s definitely the case.
What he does will be pivotal to the Trojans’ success and the success of his collegiate career. He was going to be counted on to be in the rotation with Antwaun Woods at nose tackle and with high NFL prospect Leonard Williams before this injury.
According to Reign of Troy, Bigelow and Williams were paired together on the interior in a special formation in the off-season. He was also being considered as a “cornerstone” of the defensive line.
With Bigelow out of the picture until at least the 2015 season, Woods would have to play more snaps at nose tackle. Bigelow will likely be replaced by former Texas Tech Red Raiders‘ Delvon Simmons, who has impressed the coaching staff during spring ball.
“You can tell that he’s played in college already,” said defensive line coach Chris Wilson of Simmons, who started 13 games for the Red Raiders in 2012, per Greg Katz of ESPN.com. “There are moments when you see him flash and do some really neat things.”
Claude Pelon, a former JUCO transfer, also could see significant time until Bigelow is able to return.