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Ragone out for year, freshman to take over No, 1 spot

Bill Brink | Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sophomore tight end Mike Ragone chose to have surgery on Aug. 22 to repair a slightly torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will miss the 2008 season, Notre Dame said in a statement.

Irish coach Charlie Weis said that Ragone tore the ligament running routes over the summer. He wanted to play through it and have it repaired at the end of the season, Weis said, but Ragone told Weis the knee was getting worse.

“Mike came to me and decided that having the surgery done now prior to the start of school would be best,” Weis said. “The surgery was successful and Mike will spend the 2008 season rehabbing to be ready for the 2009 season.”

Ragone tore the same ligament wrestling in high school and missed his senior season at Camden High in N.J., Scout.com reported.

Ragone played in 11 games last year and caught one pass for seven yards. Kyle Rudolph, a 6-foot-6, 252-pound freshman, is atop the latest depth chart.

Rudolph graduated from Elder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he had 11 touchdown catches in his senior year. He is the fastest of the Irish tight ends and has added about 20 pounds of muscle to his large frame in the past year. Rudolph is one of eight freshmen on Weis’s two-deep depth chart, but the only one who is currently slated to start.

Junior Will Yeatman follows him. Ragone topped the depth chart after Yeatman was suspended from the team in the spring. Yeatman caught six passes for 37 yards last season.