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April 16, 2012

Plasencia's football career is over

John Plasencia's football career at Northwestern is over.

The redshirt sophomore superback will not play another game for the Wildcats because of undisclosed medical reasons. He told WildcatReport that Northwestern team doctors decided that he should end his career rather than risk any further injury.

The Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit product watched Saturday's spring exhibition from the sideline at Ryan Field in street clothes. He said that it's been difficult to watch the team this spring and knows it will only get harder.

"It's going to be really tough next fall," he said.

Plasencia was a member of Northwestern's Class of 2009. He redshirted the 2009 season and played in four games in 2010 and nine in 2011. He didn't register any statistics in his career.

Plasencia said that he had been looking forward to contributing next fall at the suddenly depleted superback position.

Last season, there seemed to be a logjam at superback, with seven players listed at the position on the roster. But Drake Dunsmore and Brett Nagel graduated, and Jack Konopka moved to guard this spring.

With Plasencia and Evan Watkins both sidelined this spring, the Wildcats had just three superbacks available for practices -- Mark Szott, Tim Riley and Brian Smith. Just two players -- Szott and walkon Doug Diedrick, who moved from linebacker to give the Cats some bodies -- manned the position in the spring exhibition.

Experience is scant at superback, as well. Szott redshirted last season, while Riley and Smith converted from linebacker and tackle, respectively, and have played the position for less than a year. The same goes for Watkins, who played quarterback before making the switch during bowl practices in December.

There is help on the way next fall, however, when 2012 superback signees Jack Schwaba and Dan Vitale will be added to the roster.

Plasencia will continue to pursue his degree in Economics at Northwestern on a medical scholarship. He said that he will also work for the Wildcat program as a recruiting assistant.



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