One of the nation's top prep players suffered a horrific injury, putting his college prospects in doubt a day before he was expected to continue visiting potential suitors.
Josh Sweat is a dominant defensive end, so much so that ESPN and 247 Sports both ranked him as the No. 1 recruit in their 2015 class. But the 6-foot-5, 236-pound rusher might be in trouble after sustaining a severe leg injury.
Sweat was carted off the field Friday night and later diagnosed with a dislocated left kneecap that will sideline him indefinitely, according to ESPN. The highly-touted player for Oscar Frommel Smith High School (Va.) was playing against Western Branch when he was injured during the second quarter.
There will be immediate consequences for the five-star defender, both for his prospects and for the teams that were courting him heavily.
Sweat was scheduled to visit Virginia Tech this weekend. Now one has to wonder if the dominant athlete will be able to return to form either before the season ends or once he finally joins the college ranks.
Sweat was the top-ranked weak-side rusher by almost every scouting service. As a junior he registered 94 tackles...and 31 for loss, an absurd number.
His sack total for that fateful 2013 season? 22. That earned him plenty of recognition, not just from scouting services, but also from MaxPreps, who named him to the junior All-American Team.
Colleges were already interested in Sweat before last year, according to Bleacher Report, as he already held offers from Florida State, Ole Miss and the aforementioned Virginia Tech. But the breakout year led to some serious Southeastern Conference interest, with schools like Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M joining in as late-arrivals.
Most scouting services had the Seminoles as early favorites to earn Sweat's services, though the Hokies and Ohio State Buckeyes were also contenders. Their interest will likely remain even with the injury.
After all, if Sweat returns with even a portion of the world-breaking activity he's shown, that would be a crucial addition for any college squad.
Let's be clear: Things could be worst for Sweat.
If he had torn an ACL or MCL in his knee, it could have taken anywhere between six months to a year for a full recovery. Even then, there is no telling if he would return with the same type of burst and acceleration that has allowed him to dominate in the high school ranks.
But the average recovery time for a dislocated knee cap is between six to eight weeks, according to the National Institute of Health. The senior could potentially return just in time for a potential high school playoff run.
That being said, knee injuries can be tricky because of their long-term effects.
Once you've had one dislocation, the next one is more likely. Multiple dislocations can be career-threatening, and at the very least, would become a troublesome distraction if it keeps him off the field for multiple games going forward.
Here's hoping that a full recovery is in the works.
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