Bad news from Iowa City last night: Sophomore outside linebacker Shane DiBona tore his Achilles tendon and will miss the 2011 season. For DiBona, it's just the latest in a series of bad breaks. Long a favorite of the defensive coaches, DiBona looked primed to take the weakside linebacker spot vacated by Jeremiha Hunter. He didn't do particularly well with his opportunities to fill in for Hunter and Tyler Nielsen in 2010, though, and then was stricken with the dreaded rhabdo in January. While he was recovering, Ferentz decided he wanted smaller, faster outside linebackers, and DiBona was passed on the depth chart by Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey. DiBona's chances of serious playing time looked pretty slim; this injury just moves them to nil.
DiBona is a Massachusetts product and only a sophomore (and will surely be eligible for a medical redshirt if he wishes) with two serious injuries and on-field struggles in the previous season. Unfortunately, we've seen this story before in guys like Jeff Brinson and Willie Lowe, and the results aren't usually good. Even Pat Angerer, who eventually was an all-Big Ten linebacker and NFL draft pick, almost quit football after a similar string of on-field struggles and injuries. Given what has been said about his effort and potential, we hope DiBona stays with the program, recovers fully, and makes his move in 2012.