Gary Andersen reacts to David Gilbert leaving Wisconsin

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Gilbert was set to transition to linebacker from defensive end in the Badgers' new 3-4 defense, but foot injuries ruled him out for this spring before this surprising announcement.

Senior defensive lineman David Gilbert will not play for Wisconsin this season due to right foot injuries, the program announced on Friday.

With the Badgers shifting to a 3-4 defense this season under first-year head coach Gary Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Gilbert was slated to transition to outside linebacker. But ligament damage in his right foot forced him to undergo surgery in March, forcing him to miss the remainder of spring practice. Gilbert initially suffered the injury against UTEP in the fourth game of last season on Sept. 22, 2012.

"This was a difficult decision for me but I have had multiple injuries and surgeries on my foot and feel that no longer playing at UW is the best decision for me," Gilbert said in a statement released by the school. "I have been dealing with pain in my foot since the injury first occurred and I just need to give it time to fully heal.

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"I've had a tremendous experience at the University of Wisconsin and will graduate in May. Playing in the Rose Bowl is something I will never forget and a memory I will always cherish. I want to thank all my coaches I've had at UW, the former staff for what they did for me as a player and person and the new staff for helping me work through this tough decision. I also want to thank all my teammates and wish them the best next year and in the future.

"I understand this is an abrupt announcement but this will be the only comment I have on my decision. To all the Badger fans out there, thank you for all the support throughout the years. It's been a pleasure sharing this journey with you."

As the statement indicates, the good news for Gilbert is he remains on track to graduate in May. On the field this spring, seniors Tyler Dippel and Conor O'Neill and redshirt freshman Vince Biegel have seen time at outside linebacker with the first unit. Up front, the Badgers are expected to play seniors Pat Muldoon and Ethan Hemer on the line, with senior Beau Allen at nose tackle.

"David's decision was part of an on-going discussion we have had for a number of weeks," Andersen said. "I would have loved the opportunity to coach David but we always want to do what's in the best interests of the young man. He needs a year to recover from his injuries and focus on graduating. It is always tough when a young man's college career comes to an end due to an injury but David knows we are here to support him in any way necessary."

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