Sources close to Fresno State running back Dejonte O’Neal have confirmed to Barkboard that the sophomore running back will miss the rest of the year with a season-ending knee injury, providing a devastating blow for what is already a depleted Bulldog backfield.
The 5-foot-6, 165-pound O’Neal suffered his knee injury during the 48-41 double overtime loss to Tulsa on Saturday and will need surgery. Before his setback, O’Neal dazzled the Bulldog Stadium crowd by accumulating 145 all-purpose yards against the Golden Hurricane, including one kickoff return that saw him break off a 59-yard gain.
He quickly became a favorite among teammates, coaches and Bulldog fans for his work ethic, as O’Neil went from Fresno State walk-on to earning a scholarship from head coach Tim DeRuyter. On the field, the diminutive but explosive O’Neal provided versatility and elusiveness to the Bulldog offense.
He’s now the third FS running back to be placed on the injured shelf this season, joining Wesley Hill and Deonte Perry; both of whom are out with knee injuries. Fellow Bulldog running back Justin Rice (foot) is also sidelined as the Bulldogs reportedly will redshirt him.
In four games, O’Neal emerged as the Fresno State’s second leading rusher with 57 yards on 16 carries. He also added 18 more yards on seven receptions.