Illini’s Mike Dudek, freshman All-American WR, tears ACL


For a team looking to build off a bowl appearance that likely saved the job of its head coach, this serves as a significant — and potentially devastating — blow.

In a press release Wednesday, Illinois announced that star wide receiver Mike Dudek sustained a torn ACL in a non-contact drill during a Wednesday morning practice session.  Perhaps the only bright spot, if you want to call it that, in the dire development is that Dudek could possibly, potentially, return somewhere around midseason.

Dudek will undergo surgery to repair the damage at some point in the not-too-distant future.

“This is very disappointing for Mikey, his family and our football program,” head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. “He’ll have the knee surgically repaired as soon as possible and the doctors feel like he could return to the field in October. Knowing how hard Mikey works, our biggest challenge will be to keep him on pace and not let him push it too hard and too fast.”

If Dudek “only” misses half of the 2015 season, it’ll still put the Illini’s passing attack up against the wall.

As a true freshman in 2014, Dudek led the team with 76 catches for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. The former two totals were school freshman records, while the latter tied the school mark for first-year players. The receptions are fifth in school history regardless of class, while the receiving yards are seventh.

He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection, while his name littered numerous freshman All-American squads.

Utah State player upgraded to fair condition after collapse

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Utah State redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Davis is in fair condition on Friday, one day after collapsing at spring football practice following sudden cardiac arrest, the university announced.

Davis, initially was listed in critical condition, was breathing on his own. He is in the intensive-care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah.

Davis’ parents arrived in Utah on Thursday evening.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Davis, who is from Carlsbad, California, collapsed at Merlin Olsen Field and was immediately treated by the training staff, the university said. He was taken to Logan Regional Hospital.

The university said Davis was stabilized in the Logan hospital before being moved to Ogden.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.