We had heard this was a possibility, and unfortunately it is now official. As reported today in the LAT by Chris Foster (and HT to BillyTheSid for the comment), Junior DE Owa Odighizuwa will miss the 2013 season after undergoing hip surgery this week.
UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will sit out the 2013 season after surgery on his right hip Tuesday. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Odighizuwa, who will be a junior this fall, underwent surgery on his left hip during the off-season and did not participate in spring practice. He started experiencing pain in his right hip before spring practice began.
First, all our best wishes go out to Owa for a quick recovery. Heal fast, young man, and hit those books between rehab sessions.
This is a pretty significant blow to our DL, which already had to try to fill an enormous hole left by first round pick Datone Jones. While senior Cassius Marsh should hold down his DE spot from last season, Owa looked solid to fill the other side, and he showed some real flashes last season. Now the coaching staff will have to work its magic to get someone else ready to fill that spot. Eli Ankou saw some time at DE in spring and earned praise from Coach Mora, so we should expect he will get more looks now. Junior Brandon Willis and RS Soph Sam Tai, who is working back from an injury, will both move up the depth chart, too. True freshman Kylie Fitts, who graduated early from high school and joined the Bruins for spring ball last month, will also get a good look at playing time. RS Senior Keenan Graham looked to move to LB, but can also move back down to the DE spot. Sophomore manchild Ellis McCarthy may move over from DT to DE as he continues to work back from the knee injury which limited him through spring ball. Incoming freshman D lineman Kenneth Clark will be on the roster this fall as well. However, he was projected at defensive tackle, and following the loss of Brandon Tuliapupu to an ACL in spring ball, he and McCarthy will be needed there to rotate and add depth behind senior Seali'i Epenesa.
AHMB's excellent D Line spring preview gave a good idea of what the depth chart looked like before spring practice and we can use it to see how we might adjust going forward.
This also really bums me out because I have learned to pronounce and spell Owa's name without looking it up anymore. Thats ok. We'll hear lots more from Owa for 2014, so I'll keep practicing the spelling until then. In the meantime, let's all wish Owa a speedy recovery.