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October 13, 2011

Injuries hurting No. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas suffered its first defeat on the playing field last weekend against Miramar (Fla.) High. It has suffered two more since.

According to local media reports, Aquinas star defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr., is out for the next six weeks while fellow lineman Jelani Hamilton is lost for the season.

"It's a bad series of events," head coach Rocco Cassullo told the Sun-Sentinel. "But we have to move on. Our kids are resilient and we have some things we can do defensively."

Cox, a three-star defensive end is ranked No. 42 at his position nationally and was seeing his stock rise with strong performances on the line, will miss the next six weeks with a hand injury. It's unclear when the injury occurred, but it's certain to keep Cox - who already has offers from more than a dozen BCS schools - out for a while. He could return in December.

Hamilton, a four-star recruit ranked No. 7 at the position and No. 88 overall, hurt his knee against Miramar. The extent of the injury was uncertain at the time but has since been revealed as a slight ACL tear that will need surgery to repair.

"We're looking to the future," Casullo told the paper. "It was a collective decision with him and the doctors. He's in a good situation where he can recover and be healthy in the future."

Hamilton has given a verbal commitment to the University of Miami but is considered a soft commit.

The injuries couldn't have come at a worse position for Aquinas. The Raiders played last week without standout junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa who was missing with an injury and his availability is still undetermined for the next game.

In a recent trip to the school, Rivals.com Florida analyst Chris Nee said he could not determine a timetable for Bosa.

"I was there Thursday and couldn't get a good read," Nee said. "He was walking around normal and wasn't wearing a brace or receiving treatment so I don't think it is a leg. It could be a shoulder or something like that, but I don't know when he will be back."

A school like Aquinas always seems to have another player in the pipeline. In this case it's Anthony Moten.

Moten, a 6-3, 235-pound sophomore who already was seeing significant time, figures to see a lot more. Completely replacing Cox and Hamilton, however, may be impossible.

"They have to hope Moten is the player everyone thinks he can be," Nee said. "Losing all those guys could prove impossible to replace even with the talent at that school."

St. Thomas Aquinas is currently ranked No. 10 in the RivalsHigh 100 and should remain a strong contender but a state title expectation may now be clouded.

"They play a three-man front and their secondary is not up to typical Aquinas standards," Nee said. "They have to get pressure from up front and without Cox and Hamilton, and potentially Bosa, I don't think they will have the manpower to replace them and really expect to win a state title in that class."

Aquinas competes in Class 7A in Florida - a class that contains nationally ranked Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee and Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast as well as undefeated Venice (Fla.) High, Lakeland (Fla.) High, Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson and steadily improving West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer and Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln.



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