Reports: FCS-bound Mathieu failed drug tests ahead of LSU boot

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Well, that certainly didn’t take long.

Early Friday afternoon, LSU announced that All-American cornerback Tyrann Matthieu had been dismissed from the Tigers for a violation of team rules, a decision school officials said was made last night.  Well, 24 hours later, Mathieu reportedly has found a new football home.

In a tweet from now-former teammate Josh Jasper, the kicker/punter “reports” that Mathieu has moved on to McNeese State in Louisiana.  The FCS-level school has not confirmed Mathieu’s addition to the roster.

If Jasper is accurate, it would mean that LSU dismissed Mathieu as “eligible” and the defensive back would be permitted to play immediately at his new program.  The move, again if confirmed, would be reminiscent of fellow defensive back and All-SEC performer Janzen Jackson‘s move from Tennessee to the same school in August of last year.

Jackson’s dismissal reportedly stemmed from failed drug tests.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that Mathieu’s dismissal came as a result of what the website calls “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.”  Mathieu, along with two teammates, were suspended for one game last season, reportedly for a failed drug test or tests.

Neither head coach Les Miles nor athletic director Joe Alleva would confirm that failed drug tests resulted in the dismissal, but the latter stated that, whatever violation of school policy led to the boot, it was an ongoing issue.

“This was just a team policy, not going to confirm or deny either way,” Alleva said when asked about failed drug tests. “The policy is a written policy. It’s like the speed limit, if you are going over the speed limit, you’re breaking the law. He’s been over the speed limit. As in, he’s been over it a lot.”

According to LSU’s drug policy for athletes, “[u]p to [a] one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition” are automatically triggered after a third failed drug test.  A second failed drug test would result in a one-game suspension (15 percent of that sport’s regular season games, rounded down); as mentioned previously, Mathieu was suspended for one game last season, although the reason for the suspension was never confirmed by the school.

Updated 8/11 @ 1:06 p.m. ET: According a release from McNeese State “Mathieu has not made a decision on his intentions and there will be no other comments from McNeese about the issue at this time.” The release did state, however, that the two sides have met.

Duke starting safety Jeremy McDuffie out indefinitely after surgery on fractured thumb

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What we do know is that Duke will be without its starting piece of its defense.  What we don’t know is for how long.

The football program announced Wednesday that Jeremy McDuffie underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right thumb.  The junior sustained the injury during a recent Blue Devils practice.

As a result of the injury and subsequent surgery, McDuffie will be sidelined indefinitely.

McDuffie transitioned from cornerback to safety this past spring. Entering summer camp, the defensive back had been listed as a starter for the Blue Devils.  The past two seasons, McDuffie had played in 24 games.

Duke opens the 2017 season Sept. 2 against NC Central.  They will kick off ACC play three weeks later on the road against North Carolina.

Albeit with a disclaimer, Jim Mora doesn’t see Josh Rosen leaving UCLA early for NFL

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Most expect Josh Rosen to be one of the first quarterbacks selected when the next NFL draft rolls around.  Rosen’s coach, though, doesn’t see the outspoken junior being a part of the pool of available draftees.

“My firm belief is that he will not leave,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora told Yahoo SportsPete Thamel over the weekend. “I don’t think he’ll leave. …

“I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion. But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don’t think he’s going to leave.”

Mora’s proclamation comes less than two weeks before the Bruins kick off the 2017 season and around five months before draft-eligible early entrants have to officially file their paperwork with the NFL.

Rosen flashed brilliance as a true freshman in 2015, passing for nearly 3,700 yards and 23 touchdowns.  His sophomore campaign was marred by a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder that sidelined him for the final six games of the season.  Rosen has resoundingly rebounded from that health issue, and will head into the 2017 season 100-percent healthy.

Whether he enters the 2018 season 100-percent Bruin remains, his head coach’s confidence notwithstanding, highly unlikely or even doubtful, especially given his recent comments that football and school don’t mix.

Report: Call to escort service coincided with a Hugh Freeze recruiting trip

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Not surprisingly, more details are surfacing in Hugh Freeze‘s unceremonious exit from Oxford.

Freeze resigned as the head football coach at Ole Miss last month in part because of Jan. 19 phone call to an escort service that was initially deemed to be a misdial.  According to the Wall Street Journal, that call came a few hours after a university plane landed in Tampa, Fla., as part of a five-day, 13-stop recruiting trip.  On that plane was Freeze as well as other members of the Rebels football staff.

The discovery of the link between the call and recruiting trip came after a review of phone records and other documents.

After Freeze’s “resignation,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork described an unspecified pattern of personal misconduct that led to the coach’s departure.  Bjork somewhat expounded on that pattern to the Journal.

Although school officials had previously declined to characterize the alleged misconduct, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in response to questions from the Journal about Freeze’s travel that the university’s investigation uncovered “calls of a similar nature” over the course of several years, often matching up with travel logs showing the coach’s use of the school plane. The school said it examined his travel logs from peak recruiting times—often November, December and January—when Freeze would travel out of state, using the school plane and other public resources.

“When we say pattern, we are describing other phone numbers that when you Google them pull up similar type websites, services, however you would describe them,” Bjork said. “We took action swiftly.

Speculation of late has there being more, potentially much more, to Freeze’s forced resignation.  Only time will tell how much more will ultimately come out — especially if another former Ole Miss head coach’s lawsuit, kicked out of federal court for lack of jurisdiction, is revived in the state of Mississippi as expected.

Reports: ankle injury likely to keep WR Michael Pittman out of USC’s opener

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In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC.  With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.

According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot.  While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.

As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”

At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.

Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country.  As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.