USF receiver A.J. Love tears ACL in right knee
Senior receiver A.J. Love, expected to be a starter and key contributor on USF's football team this fall, has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday's spring football game, the school announced Monday.
A magnetic resonance imaging test Monday night confirmed the injury, which would make it challenging for Love to return during the 2010 season. He suffered the same injury to his left knee in the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl, but was able to recover in time for the entire 2009 season, eight months after his injury -- such a timetable following an immediate surgery would allow for Love to play in a postseason bowl game. A six-month recovery, considered the minimum following ACL surgery, would allow him to play in the second half of the season.
Love's injury came with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter of the scrimmage, at the end of a 32-yard catch on a pass from quarterback B.J. Daniels. Love and Daniels had connected for a 5-yard touchdown on the first possession of the second half. Love ranked second among the Bulls last season in catches (26) and yards (489) and tied for the team lead with four touchdown receptions. He caught two touchdowns in USF's victory over Northern Illinois in the International Bowl in Toronto.
His absence, combined with the loss of Carlton Mitchell, who left early for the NFL draft, leaves the Bulls without established depth at receiver. Senior Dontavia Bogan, who had 233 receiving yards and four touchdowns Saturday, is entrenched as a starter, but the rest of the receivers are largely unproven, including sophomores Sterling Griffin, Evan Landi and Lindsey Lamar. Bogan has more career receptions (60) than the rest of the receivers combined (50).
The Bulls could get a boost from the addition of N.C. State receiver Donald Bowens, a St. Petersburg native who is graduating this summer and has said he wants to transfer to USF for his final year. Bowens met with USF coaches earlier this spring about the possibility of joining the team and is awaiting acceptance into graduate school at USF. Bowens said he talked Monday night with USF receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, who encouraged him to finish his spring classes strong to give him the best chance to facilitate a transfer to USF.
USF also signed two receivers in February -- Deonte Welch of Williston and Jamaal Montague of Lake City, who now have a greater chance to play as true freshmen this fall.