Wisconsin sophomore defensive end Jake Keefer will miss the upcoming 2013 regular season after suffering a lateral meniscus tear last week, according to a report from WQOW, a Eau Claire, Wis., local news station.
Keefer, a Woodville, Wis., native, suffered the injury in the Badgers' first of two fall scrimmages Aug. 12. In the scrimmage, which was open to the public, Keefer fell to the ground and needed assistance off the field. He told WQOQ he had surgery last week and is targeting a possible return for a potential bowl game. After redshirting in 2011 and playing linebacker in four games last season, including the Big Ten Championship Game, Keefer was slated to move to defensive end in Wisconsin's new 3-4 defense under first-year coordinator Dave Aranda. Per the WQOW report, Keefer gained nearly 40 pounds to prepare for the switch.
In a text message, Keefer wrote: "I have high spirits, and am on the road to recovery. I will do whatever I can to come back in better shape." He adds that he will work in rehab to get back in time for Wisconsin's potential bowl game.
Keefer was a four-star linebacker by Rivals and Scout out of Baldwin-Woodville High School. Both services also had him as the top-ranked Wisconsin player of the 2011 class.
Up front this season, the Badgers appear set to start a trio of seniors on the defensive line. Ends Pat Muldoon and Ethan Hemer will bookend nose guard Beau Allen, the linebackers could feature as many as four starting linebackers if Chris Borland, Brendan Kelly, Ethan Armstrong and Conor O'Neill are the first-teamers.
Keefer's loss won't be critical for Wisconsin, though he could've factored into the outside linebacker position battle this fall. Perhaps he'll suit up for the bowl game, though it appears likely we won't see Keeler until spring 2014.
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