- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Bradley Bozeman (Roanoke, Ala./Handley) was the first player to commit to the University of Alabama for 2013, but on Saturday, the four-star offensive lineman received devastating news when he found out he had torn his ACL the night before, putting an end to his senior season.
“I broke down a little bit, started crying,” Bozeman said. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play the rest of the season. But it’s just a bump in the road, and we’ll have to get over it. I think we can do it. Just get surgery, rehab and work my butt off to get back to where I was.”
Bozeman, who has played both ways all season, was playing defense when the injury occurred.
“I was on defense, and we were in punt safe,” he said. “There was a bad snap on the punt, so I went after it. I planted with my left foot and went right. When I did, my knee popped.”
At first, Bozeman and the training staff thought it was just a hyperextension or something minor. He stretched it out, went against some teammates on the sideline and felt good enough to come back in the game. When he felt it pop again, he knew his night was done.
Still, he didn’t know it was torn. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman went to the clinic the next day where he thought it might still be a hyperextension or torn cartilage. Even the doctor didn’t know until the MRI came back.
“He said the muscles in my knee were so strong, my leg was so strong, you couldn’t tell that it was the ACL,” Bozeman said.
After he received the diagnosis, the Crimson Tide commitment talked with UA assistant coaches Jeff Stoutland and Bobby Williams.
“They were upset a little bit,” Bozeman said. “They said that everybody was kind of disappointed. It’s just the nature of the beast. It happens to some of the best of them. I happened to pull the short straw. They said you’ll be fine. Dr. Cain, he’s a great doctor, and he’ll get me right.”
Dr. Cain is the same specialist who worked on 2014 commitment Bo Scarbrough’s knee when he tore his ACL last season. Bozeman said he might reach out to Scarbrough for advice on how to handle the situation and come back.
For now, he’s trying to remain positive.
“I just want to get back to where I was and be even stronger,” Bozeman said. “It’s going to be a big obstacle to overcome, but I think I can do it.”
22hSam Khan Jr.