Matt Edwards / Multimedia editor
Ohio State football redshirt junior tight end Jake Stoneburner could miss the 2012 Gator Bowl entirely or see limited action when the Buckeyes play the Florida Gators Monday, according to multiple reports Saturday.
OSU athletics spokesman Jerry Emig confirmed to The Lantern that Stoneburner had surgery in early December, but did not confirm the nature of Stoneburner’s injury. According to an ESPN report, Stoneburner had arthroscopic knee surgery following the conclusion of the Buckeyes’ 2011 campaign and is at risk to miss the bowl game.
During the Buckeyes’ 2011 regular season, Stoneburner led all OSU receivers in touchdowns with seven and tied for the team lead in catches with 14.
Stoneburner’s absence may be all the more damaging for the OSU’s chances of success against the Gators as the tight end had a productive outing in the Buckeyes’ previous bowl game.
Stoneburner had three catches for 39 yards during OSU’s 31-26 win against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. That victory, along with the entire 2010 season, was later vacated by the university as part of its self-imposed penalties for NCAA rules infractions.
Junior tight end Reid Fragel is listed as Stoneburner’s back up on the team’s most recent depth chart and could see an increased role in Monday’s bowl game.
The Gator Bowl kicks off at 1 p.m. at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.