San Jose State junior linebacker Moses Saucedo suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Monday's practice and will need season-ending surgery.
Also, Victor Vernon, a defensive tackle who was considered the prized recruit from the February signing class, has left the team, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The transfer from De Anza Community College plans to return home to the Chicago area and work for the family business and attend school part-time, the school spokesman said.
Saucedo, according to coach Ron Caragher, "went to tackle and his knee got torqued the wrong way. It was just a freak thing."
Saucedo played in all 12 games last year and started four. He entered fall as a projected starter at linebacker, taking over the spot of Jared Leaf, who was injured in an apartment fire in April.
"It's a tough deal because he was having a good fall camp and competing for a potential starting spot," Caragher said.
Saucedo had 23 tackles last year, including eight in the season-opening victory over Sacramento State. He started that game in place of the injured Christian Tago.
His injury likely opens up a starting spot for William Ossai, a redshirt freshman out of Oak Grove High-San Jose.