MADISON - Wisconsin senior cornerback Devin Smith will miss the remainder of the regular season with a left-foot injury suffered last week in the first quarter against Oregon State.
UW coach Bret Bielema revealed the news Tuesday during the Big Ten Coaches’ teleconference that Smith went through a procedure Monday that will, according to Bielema, sideline him, ‘anywhere from four to six weeks so he won’t be with us for the rest of the season.
Smith played as a freshman in 2008 and has not taken a standard redshirt year. As a result, Wisconsin can apply for a medical waiver that would allow Smith to return in 2012 as a fifth-year senior.
“Fortunately for us Devin played right away as a freshman,” Bielema said on the teleconference, “We’ll be able to file the appropriate paperwork and he will get a redshirt out of this season and be able to join us again next year for a second senior season.”
Smith started all 13 games in 2009, recording 55 tackles and 11 passes defended, before moving into a reserve role last season. The senior started the first two games this year and made a number of solid plays before getting hurt on the defense’s third series.
Smith's injury means junior corner Marcus Cromartie is now the full-time starter opposite Antonio Fenelus while freshmen Peniel Jean becomes the team’s No.3 cornerback. Wisconsin also has the option of playing freshman cornerbacks Darius Hillary or Devin Gaulden. Bielema said Monday that Hillary has been close to playing the first two games while Gaulden, who missed camp because of a stress fracture in his leg, could practice this week and be ready for the conference opener against Nebraska, Oct.1.
Smith's injury takes one more scholarship away from a shrinking 2012 recruiting class, but allows the Badgers to have a deep secondary next season with Smith, Cromartie and strong safety Shelton Johnson all returning starters.
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