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MADISON –Although he stood frustrated after another Rose Bowl defeat, senior defensive end David Gilbert spoke positively at the 99th Rose Bowl about how he was looking forward to making an impact in his final year of eligibility.
Sadly, that impact will have to come from the sidelines.
In a statement released Friday by the athletic department, Gilbert announced that he will not play football for Wisconsin this fall due to recurring injuries to his right foot.
“This was a difficult decision for me but I have had multiple injuries and surgeries on my foot and feel that no longer playing at UW is the best decision for me,” Gilbert said in a statement. “I have been dealing with pain in my foot since the injury first occurred and I just need to give it time to fully heal.
“I’ve had a tremendous experience at the University of Wisconsin and will graduate in May. Playing in the Rose Bowl is something I will never forget and a memory I will always cherish. I want to thank all my coaches I’ve had at UW, the former staff for what they did for me as a player and person and the new staff for helping me work through this tough decision. I also want to thank all my teammates and wish them the best next year and in the future."
Gilbert was projected to be a key piece of Wisconsin's 2011 pass rush after J.J. Watt left a season early for the NFL. Gilbert - then a junior - registered 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in four starts during the nonconference season.
As Wisconsin prepared to open the conference season against Nebraska, Gilbert broke his foot during practice, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
Gilbert played in 14 games last season (13 starts) and finished with 42 tackles (21 solo), 9.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three fumbles caused. He was a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season.
“David’s decision was part of an on-going discussion we have had for a number of weeks,” head coach Gary Andersen said in a statement. “I would have loved the opportunity to coach David but we always want to do what’s in the best interests of the young man. He needs a year to recover from his injuries and focus on graduating. It is always tough when a young man’s college career comes to an end due to an injury but David knows we are here to support him in any way necessary.”
Gilbert announced he would have no further comment on his decision.
With Alec James and Chikwe Obasih enrolling in the summer, Wisconsin will have 15 scholarship defensive linemen, including 10 defensive ends and three senior defensive ends.