Brendon Bigelow caught the pass, turned and looked to make a play up the field. But as the Fresno (Calif.) Central East standout made his move, his right foot stuck in the ground and defenders tackled him. Bigelow's upper body fell, his right foot stayed in the same spot and the pain shot through his leg.
It was a torn anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, immediately putting an end to his junior season in the playoffs and concerning him that all the things he worked for was in jeopardy.
"It was pretty devastating for me," said Bigelow, who's included on the Rivals.com top 250 to watch list for 2011.
"I thought everything was over. I thought everything I did, all the hard work every day, I thought it was over with. That's when Washington came. They made me feel good about myself. I continue to work hard. That was my first offer so I took it."
Bigelow committed to the Huskies in January, their persistence recruiting him and the fact they stayed by him after his injury were important reasons why he picked Washington so early.
There has not been a campus visit yet and only a brief talk with coach Steve Sarkisian but Bigelow is confident he made the right choice.
"The program is up and coming," Bigelow said. "The recruiting went really well. I like their spread offense. I can fit in really nice in that. It's just that the coaches are cool and I just feel like I'd fit right into that program and help them win games.
"It was really important they stayed with me. It showed me they really cared and I really appreciate that. That's why I'm still committed to them to this day. We'll see what happens toward the end but pretty much I'm (committed) to the Huskies."
Considered one of the top running backs in California, Bigelow finished with about 1,000 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns this season. He attended a junior day at Cal last weekend and said Southern Cal wants him to visit. The Trojans have offered. First, the Fresno standout said he'd like to visit Washington.
The Cal junior day went well. Not only did he see the Berkeley campus and meet some coaches but he also talked with Los Angeles Crenshaw running back De'Anthony Thomas, considered one of the nation's best backs.
"I liked the campus," Bigelow said. "It was beautiful. The coaches and everybody welcomed me into their Bear family and I thought that was pretty cool. They know I'm committed and they just showed me a lot of love. We went to the basketball game. I had a good time there and I enjoyed myself. It was pretty good.
"(Thomas) was at the Cal visit, too. We talked briefly and we talked about track. He told me he wanted to run a 10.3. I told him I wish I could run against him, it would be nice. We talked it up for a minute and then we went our certain ways. He and I are pretty cool."
Bigelow is missing his junior track season as he rehabilitates his knee injury and prepares for a big senior season.
There is one more go-around before he's off to play college ball. Washington has his commitment at this point but other powerhouse programs are pushing him. It will be an interesting and busy year for one of California's best backs.
"It's really motivating," Bigelow said. "Every day I get up I'm thinking about football, putting on my pads and my helmet and getting out there. It's an every day thing for me now."