LSU has suffered its first significant injury of fall camp.
Defensive tackle Quentin Thomas is expected to miss the 2014 season with a torn biceps, a source told The Advocate on Friday.
Thomas, a redshirt junior from Breaux Bridge, is listed as a starter and was expected to see substantial playing time for the first time in his career this year. He suffered the injury during Wednesday’s practice and will undergo at least six months of rehabilitation, the source said.
Coach Les Miles, through a team spokesman, only confirmed that Thomas suffered an injury. No other details were revealed. Thomas was not seen at Thursday’s practice and was not present during Friday’s open portion of drills.
Thomas has two years of eligibility remaining and has already redshirted. He could receive a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA for the 2016 season.
A backup to Ego Ferguson in 2013, Thomas had nine tackles in 11 games played. He started in the Outback Bowl when Ferguson did not make the trip to Tampa, Florida.
LSU players did not confirm the news during interviews Friday, but spoke about the prospect of replacing the 6-foot-4, 303-pound Thomas.
“He’s a great friend of mine,” said Christian LaCouture, expected to be the other starting defensive tackle. “I felt terrible when I heard about it. Somebody’s got to step up.”
Redshirt freshman Greg Gilmore is listed as Thomas’ backup on LSU’s preseason depth chart. Frank Herron and Maquedius Bain are also expected to vie for his starting gig.
Thomas was in a battle during fall camp to keep the starting position. Still, he was expected to have large role after the departures of starting linemen Ferguson and Anthony Johnson.
A three-star prospect out of Breaux Bridge High School, Thomas redshirted his freshman season in 2011. He played in three games in 2012.
“He’s a good kid,” said Paul Broussard, Thomas’ coach at Breaux Bridge. “It’s a sad thing. He was looking forward to the season.”
The injury leaves LSU low on experience at the tackle position. LaCouture is the only other tackle who’s played significant college snaps. Bain, Herron and Gilmore all redshirted last season, their true freshman year.
The trio was a part of LSU’s 2013 class. All of them were rated four stars by 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings.
“We came into together,” Bain said Friday. “We pushed each other. It’s up to (assistant) coach Brick (Haley) and coach Miles who’s going to get that starting position.”
Herron may have the best shot at taking over for Thomas. He’s wowed teammates and coaches over the summer and during fall camp. Miles called him a “beast” on Wednesday, the same day Thomas was injured.
Either way, defensive end Danielle Hunter will have someone else beside him.
“I’ll trust whoever goes there,” Hunter said.