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Illinois Football Star Suffered "Severe" Spinal Injury While Swimming

A closeup of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith.

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 12: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Illinois Fighting Illini watches his team prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Illinois' football program suffered some terrible injury news over the weekend. Star defensive end Bobby Roundtree's season, and possibly his entire career, is now in jeopardy.

According to Jeremy Werner of 247Sports, Roundtree was forced to undergo surgery on Sunday due to a spinal injury. The injury reportedly occurred during a "swimming incident" in Tampa over the weekend.

Roundtree led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last year - both career highs. He was the only player on the team to boast multiple sacks in 2018.

Per the report, the injury is considered "severe," which could mean any number of things.

Roundtree was only a three-star prospect coming out of high school in 2017, but quickly established himself as a starter for Lovie Smith. He played in all 12 games as a freshman and had a team-best 4.0 sacks that year.

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith visited Roundtree and released a statement asking that he be in everyone's thoughts and prayers.

The Illini have not been bowl eligible since 2014 but are bringing in a solid recruiting class this year that includes a handful of talented transfer athletes.