Tough Early Going For Shugarts

This was not how his senior season was supposed to get started. A five-star offensive line prospect from Klein, Texas, Shugarts has not finished a game yet this season. Find out all the details -- and the truth to those rumors about visiting LSU -- by reading on.

It is fair to say that J.B. Shugarts' senior season has not quite gone according to plan.

The Klein, Texas, BearKats are 1-1 heading into this weekend, but they have achieved that record at least partially without the help of the five-star offensive line prospect. The 6-7, 310-pound Shugarts is yet to finish a game after suffering two unrelated left leg injuries – one in each game.

In a 49-0 defeat in week one to nationally ranked Katy, Texas, Shugarts suffered from cramps and had to be removed from the game early in the fourth quarter.

"I was playing defense," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I was on a gut stunt – I was gutting inside, and I was going to make the tackle. My leg just cramped up, my left leg and the back of my calf. That wasn't anything bad, it was just cramping up bad."

The game itself did not go well for the team, but Shugarts said it went better than the final score indicated.

"We dropped some passes and we fumbled a lot," Shugarts said. "Some plays, we were driving. We just didn't make plays when we needed to. We were inside the 15-yard line three times in the first half and didn't score. We fumbled twice and one play we were on the two-yard line, we put in our goal-line offense and our wide receivers didn't leave the field so we got a penalty."

The famed Texas heat was made worse by the construction of the stadium, Shugarts said. Katy's team plays in an arena similar to Michigan Stadium which made it feel hotter on the field, he said.

"It was pretty hot," he said. "I didn't understand (why it happened), because I drink so much water all the time. It drove me crazy that I was cramping up."

While the Bearkats rebounded for a 10-7 victory one week later against Cypress (Texas) Cy-Ridge, Shugarts was again taken off the field – and this time it was slightly more serious.

After having one of his own offensive lineman fall while making a block and landing on the side of his left leg, Shugarts – who described the situation as an "awkward situation for my knee" – is expected to miss next week's game with a sprained left knee.

When he first went down, though, Shugarts thought something far worse had happened. The injury itself seemed to worsen when, as he laid there with his leg outstretched, he began to cramp up again.

"Nothing like that has ever happened to me before," he said. "I haven't even felt that type of pain, really. I was just freaking out mentally. I was going crazy because I thought I really did (hurt it), like, ‘What's going on, this is bad.' I didn't know what was happening."

Shugarts was reassured on the sideline by the team doctor, who told him he had not suffered any ligament damage. After sitting out the rest of the game, Shugarts had an X-ray the following morning at 7 a.m. that showed no bone damage.

An MRI was scheduled for Tuesday just to make 100 percent certain nothing was damaged, he said.

Now he is wearing a brace on his knee – something he does not particularly enjoy.

"I hate it because I have a stupid brace on and I can't bend it," he said. "The thing that drives me crazy is my leg will start to hurt just because it's straight for hours and you can't bend it because it'll get tight."

As a result of the injury, Shugarts said he got to spend his entire Saturday lying on his couch. His house does not get the Big Ten Network, but he said he got to watch the "funny" Michigan game.

"That was fun to watch," he said.

Shugarts said he did watch the second half to see Ryan Mallett play. The two met at a camp in Texas and have kept in touch since Shugarts' sophomore season.

The injury also prevented him from taking an official visit to LSU. Although he is firmly committed to OSU, Shugarts had planned to be on hand for the LSU/Virginia Tech game Saturday night.

The visit was not for personal reasons, however.

"My mom's a Virginia Tech alumna," he said. "She wanted to go to that game, and I've never taken her to anything, college-wise. She met Coach (Jim) Tressel when he came to my school, but she's never even been to Ohio yet. She wanted to see that game. She's a big Hokie."

Shugarts said he might take in a few Texas A&M games as a fan with his friends, but he has just one official visit on the schedule: He will be in attendance for the Ohio State/Wisconsin game.


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