University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel told reporters on Wednesday that defensive tackle Harold Brantley and former top 2016 NFL Draft prospect is officially out for the season. Brantley suffered multiple injuries in a single-car crash last month, and will require too much recovery time to see the field this season.
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Brantley, “one of the best players in the country” according to Pinkel, was also considered a potential first-round pick by many draft pundits. With the likes of Markus Golden and Shane Ray now in the NFL, Brantley figured to become next in line as the leader of a Missouri team known for producing NFL-caliber defensive linemen, but will now find himself playing first-string cheerleader for the season.
Brantley was taken to Missouri’s university hospital after the crash last month and was considered to be in serious condition. “He’s lucky to be alive,” Pinkel said. The junior underwent surgery on a fractured left tibia shortly after the accident and will have left knee surgery later this month. He also suffered multiple rib fractures and a small crack in his shoulder that required a pin.
A redshirt junior, Brantley will have one more year of college eligibility if he choose to stay in school beyond the coming year. Brantley spent 2013 and 2014 establishing himself as a potential NFL talent, but figured to put his status over the top with a strong 2015 campaign, meaning he’ll likely return for his senior season with sights set on the 2017 draft rather than taking a chance next spring.
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