McGahee suffers severe knee injury in title game

Sunday, January 5, 2003

PHOENIX -- Willis McGahee's professional career will have to wait.

Miami's All-American running back tore three ligaments in his left knee against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and will have reconstructive surgery, assistant coach Don Soldinger said Saturday.

The injury means McGahee, a sophomore who was expected to turn pro and was widely projected to be the first running back taken in April's NFL draft, will return to Miami and try to recover in time for next season. It won't be easy.

He tore the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee early in the fourth quarter Friday night, Soldinger said. McGahee will have surgery Sunday, but rehabilitation could sideline him for all or part of next season.

McGahee has nearly eight months before Miami's season opener at Louisiana Tech.

"He'll come back," Soldinger said. "He's that type of guy, a competitor, a hard-worker. I've seen it over and over again. If he stays positive and works hard -- he's down in the dumps right now -- he'll come back. "

McGahee, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound Miami native, ran for a school-record 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns this season and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.

Poll crowns Ohio State

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ohio State (14-0) received all 71 first-place votes in the final Associated Press media poll after defeating Miami 31-24 in the Fiesta Bowl and finishing as the nation's only major unbeaten team.

In the final, post-bowl AP poll, the No. 1 votes from the writers and broadcasters gave the Buckeyes 1,775 points.

Miami was second, followed by Georgia, Southern California, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa, Michigan and Washington State. The coaches poll had the same top five teams.

Grossman to enter draft

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida quarterback Rex Grossman will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Grossman finished the season with 3,402 yards, 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, a far cry from the 3,896 yards and 34 TDs he threw for in 2001 when he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

The consensus among NFL scouts is that despite his subpar season, Grossman was not damaged too badly by his decision to stay, and should be picked no lower than the third round of the April draft.

-- From wire reports

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