Star Montana State outside linebacker Troy Andersen will redshirt the 2020 season, Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate said on a media video call Wednesday morning.
The decision was reached after a surgery on what Choate called a lower extremity injury was pushed back several times.
"Talking to the doctors, it sounds like if we’d get him back at all, it would be in the playoffs," Choate said on the call. "So right now the plan is for Troy to redshirt the 2020 season and complete his eligibility in 2021."
The injury, which occured in the UC Davis game, knocked the 2019 All-Big Sky selection at linebacker out for the final four games of the season. Andersen did try to play ahead of playoff games against Austin Peay and North Dakota State, but the coaching staff ultimately shut him down.
Doctors, Choate said, originally told Andersen after the season that the injury would heal on its own and not require surgery. This turned out not to be the case as Andersen suffered another setback during winter conditioning, nearly 2.5 months after he had been injured in the first place.
To get a second opinion, Andersen and his mom loaded up for a trip to Vail, Colorado, where they would see a specialist. Well, at least that was the plan until an avalanche blocked the road from Denver to Vail and they had to turn around.
Two weeks later they had another appointment, this time in Minnesota, where Andersen found out he would need surgery. The surgery was setup for a Thursday, but days before Andersen went to Choate with a request — he had the chance to go to Hawai'i with his family around spring break following the cancellation of the Bobcat's Habitat for Humanity trip to Brazil due to the coronavirus.
Andersen was given permission, but when he came back COVID-19 had begun to shut everything down. A surgery that was supposed to take place in late Feburary, Choate said, did not happen until early May.
Andersen had to go through a variety of tests, including one for COVID-19 antibodies, before he could get the surgery, which also took an extended period of time.
"He had to jump through a bunch of hoops ... had to wait a period of time before they opened the clinic," Choate said. "Once they opened a clinic, it was another period of time, it just got drug out."
One of the most versatile players in the country, Andersen finished with 54 tackles (11.5 for loss) and 4.5 sacks in 11 games last season. He was named an All-American by HERO Sports at linebacker a year after being named First-Team All-Big Sky at quarterback.
Andersen scored a school record 21 rushing touchdowns in 2018.
“Troy Andersen, in my personal opinion, having coached Division-I college football for over 20 years, having coached 31 first or second round draft picks, he’s as talented football player as I have coached … if anything, he’s underrated," Choate said. "I think that tells you how deep our team is.”
Andersen will have one year of eligibility left following the redshirt year. Montana State is expected to compete for a Big Sky Championship and playoff spot next season.
“Is it going to hurt us to lose him? Yes," Choate said. "Is it going to galvanize us and put a bigger chip on our shoulder? You bet.”