LARGO — Bobby Roundtree, a former Largo High School football star and University of Illinois junior defensive lineman, suffered a severe spinal injury May 18 in a swimming accident near his home in Largo, according to the school.
Surgeons at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, where Roundtree is recovering, performed surgery May 19. According to an Associated Press report, he was sitting up and eating May 20.
"Bobby Roundtree is exactly what you want in a student-athlete," said Illinois head coach Lovie Smith in a press release. “He is a hard worker, dependable, a dedicated student and a leader. This is devastating to his teammates, the entire Fighting Illini family and his family and friends. We will give Bobby all the support possible as he battles through his recovery. Please keep Bobby and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Roundtree, who graduated from Largo High in 2017, started 20 of 24 games during his first two seasons at Illinois, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2018. He was projected as one of the Illini's top players entering his junior season in 2019. Smith, several Illini coaches, along with many family members and friends, gathered at the hospital over the weekend in support of Roundtree.