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Northwestern starting cornerback Keith Watkins II to miss second straight season with lower body injury


NCAA Football: Northwestern at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern starting cornerback Keith Watkins II will miss the entire 2017 season with a lower body injury, Pat Fitzgerald confirmed to WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge just before game time Saturday.

This is simply devastating for Watkins, who suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in training camp last season and was forced to miss the entire 2016 campaign. He had eased his way back to full-contact in training camp, although it was a non-contact injury suffered on his right leg on Wednesday that will put an end to the cornerback’s redshirt senior campaign.

Watkins was listed as a starter on the Week 1 depth chart and a huge part of Northwestern’s talented secondary. His injury leaves Northwestern scrambling for corner options. Marcus McShepard figures to slide into the starting role alongside Montre Hartage, with redshirt freshman Brian Bullock providing depth. Watkins’ injury comes on top of the absence of sophomores Roderick Campbell, Alonzo Mayo and Trae Williams. The cornerback group is decimated with injuries.

This is a tremendous loss for the Wildcats and our hearts go out to Watkins who has overcome so much to return from last season’s injury. A medical hardship waiver could likely be a possibility for the cornerback.