Clemson linebacker Steward tears ACL

Clemson freshman linebacker Tony Steward tore his ACL during practice on Tuesday and will miss the rest of the 2011 season, the school announced on Wednesday. Steward suffered the injury during a special-teams drill.

Steward, one of the top recruits in Clemson's 2011 class, had played in five of the first seven games for the Tigers and had five tackles and a pass deflection in 36 defensive plays. He was a five-star recruit and rated the No. 1 inside linebacker by ESPN Recruiting.

“Tony suffered the injury while back-peddling in practice on a punt drill on Tuesday,” coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement. “It is not the same knee he injured in high school [also a torn ACL]. He will rehab and be ready to go in the summer. He is a hard worker and I know will be ready for next year.

“We plan to apply for a medical hardship to get the year back. We realize it will take a special waiver to have that granted by the NCAA.”