Northwestern defensive tackle Sean McEvilly has retired from football, the university announced. A sixth-year senior, McEvilly was a starter on the defensive line, but has dealt with chronic orthopedic issues and also missed the entire 2014 season.
"It's disappointing to not be on the field opening camp this week, but this is the right decision not just for my health and future, but for the team," said McEvilly. "I'm so thankful for the teammates and coaches I've competed alongside, and the opportunity I've had at Northwestern over the last five years. I can't begin to express my gratitude to my parents for helping me reach this point. I will leave here as a two-time graduate of this university and will always be a Wildcat."
This is certainly a loss for the interior of NU's defensive line, as Inside NU had projected McEvilly to be a backup at defensive tackle. However, the writing was on the wall, since Pat Fitzgerald noted at Big Ten Media Days that young players will get plenty of chances to contribute immediately at defensive tackle.
C.J. Robbins is a sure-fire starter at one tackle spot. Robbins, as far as we know, is healthy, and saw plenty of playing time last season. If healthy, junior Greg Kuhar should see plenty of time alongside him, but Kuhar is coming off a torn ACL suffered against Notre Dame. However, he was not listed on Northwestern's first fall camp injury report. Other prime candidates for playing time appear to be sophomore Tyler Lancaster and redshirt freshman Ben Oxley, both of whom Fitzgerald mentioned by name at Big Ten Media Days. Max Chapman will also be in the mix. Fred Wyatt could be as well, but he has already been ruled out for at least week one with an injury.