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Dr. Saturday

USC linebacker Jabari Ruffin out for season with knee injury

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
NCAA Football: Southern California-Spring Game
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Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California outside linebacker Jabari Ruffin (40) attempts to move around Southern California offensive lineman Chade Wheeler (72) during the Southern California Spring Game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

A potential starter on USC’s defense went down with a season-ending injury during a weekend practice session.

USC confirmed that redshirt sophomore linebacker Jabari Ruffin, who was in contention to start at outside linebacker, tore a ligament in his knee during practice Sunday morning. The injury occurred after Ruffin intercepted a pass and was tackled during the interception return.

“This is very unfortunate news about Jabari, but I know he will rehab well and come back strong next year,” said head coach Steve Sarkisian. “And, I know our team will step up in his absence.”

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ruffin appeared in 13 games for the Trojans in 2013, his redshirt freshman season. In total, he registered 22 tackles and recorded his first career sack against Utah. A native of Downey, Calif., Ruffin was the top-rated outside linebacker prospect in the 2012 class according to Rivals. Overall, he was rated four stars and the No. 40 prospect in the country.

According to USC’s website, senior J.R. Tavai and sophomores Scott Felix and Quinton Powell will look to fill the void at outside linebacker in Ruffin’s absence.

Ruffin is the second potential starter for USC to suffer a season-ending injury this offseason. Defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow went down with a torn ACL in July during a voluntary player workout.

The Trojans’ season opens up at home against Fresno State on August 30.

For more USC news, visit USCFootball.com.

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