The defensive line, one of UCLA football’s most battered units this spring, just suffered its biggest loss. Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will likely miss the 2013 season after undergoing his second offseason hip surgery.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the news Tuesday that Odighizuwa had the operation for a frayed rotator cuff in his right hip. Once the five-star gem of the Bruins’ 2010 recruiting class, he had sat out all of spring practice while recovering from surgery on his left hip.
Coach Jim Mora said last Monday that Odighizuwa was healing well, but needed to get his right hip checked. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound end was a likely successor for Datone Jones, who recently became UCLA’s first first-round draft pick since 2006. Odighizuwa finished with 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season, and will have one year of eligibility left after if he redshirts this fall. He totaled 32 tackles through his freshman and sophomore years.
Nose tackle Brandon Tuliaupupu tore his ACL in late April and will also miss the upcoming season. Rising sophomore Ellis McCarthy, who moved from end to tackle, missed spring practices as he recovered from knee surgery but is expected to be ready for fall.
“It’s been good for our younger guys,” defensive line coach Angus McClure said during spring practice when asked about lack of depth. “It’s helped them grow as players. It’s helped some of our veterans also get additional reps.”
Besides returning starter Cassius Marsh, remaining options at defensive end include junior Brandon Willis and senior Keenan Graham. Early enrollee Kylie Fitts also looks to play an increased role, as could incoming freshman Kenneth Clark.