Florida Football: Gators Dealt a Big Blow with the Loss of DE Ronald Powell

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 9, 2012

Florida DE Ronald Powell
Florida DE Ronald PowellSam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Florida Gators finished spring on a high note on Saturday with a thrilling Orange and Blue Debut, but Monday wasn't as upbeat in Gator Nation.

GatorZone.com's Scott Carter reported Monday morning that junior defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell suffered a torn ACL in the first half of Saturday's spring game that will sideline him for four to six months. 

Powell led the Gators last season with six sacks and finished fourth on the team with nine tackles for loss last season as a sophomore.

According to Rachel George of the Orlando Sentinel, Powell received high praise this spring and was set up for a solid junior season. 

Powell was the defender who drew the most praise in the spring. Seemed he was picking up the Buck position after a year adjusting. #Gators

— Rachel George (@OS_RachelGeorge) April 9, 2012

Florida finished last in the SEC in turnover margin last season (minus-0.92), and the native of Moreno Valley, Calif., was being counted on to be a speed rusher off the edge to wreak havoc in the backfield.

An ACL injury is not something to rush back from, and the timing of this puts Powell's 2012 season in jeopardy. If the 6'4", 250-pounder is on the back end of that four- to six-month recovery time, that would be sometime in mid-October. 

Powell was the centerpiece of Florida's 2010 recruiting class, which was the top class in the nation according to Scout.com.

Redshirt sophomore Gideon Ajagbe was listed behind Powell at the Buck on Florida's pre-spring depth chart. Ajagbe only saw action in four games last season and did not record a tackle.