Report: Mathieu wants to return to LSU after sitting out season

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In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends.  Maybe.

Dismissed by LSU for violated unspecified team/school policies, All-American cornerback/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu was thought to be headed to the FCS level — McNeese State specifically — and play the 2012 season before (likely) becoming an early entrant in the 2013 NFL draft.

While that may still ultimately be the case, the Honey Badger is looking for forgiveness and another shot with his former school.

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad is reporting that Mathieu has an interest in sitting out the 2012 season and returning to the Tigers football team in 2013.  Those close to the player said that Mathieu “is interested in working on his maturity and character.”

And it’s not just Mathieu, who sources described to Schad as “heartbroken” and “grieving” over the dismissal, who is thinking of a potential return.

As Schad writes, “[t]he possibility of future reinstatement would have to be approved at many levels, including university administration and head coach Les Miles.”  Discussions on at least a couple of those levels have already taken place.

It’s been speculated and reported on that Mathieu’s dismissal was the result of “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.”  According to the school’s policy, a third failed drug test results in “a one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition.”

The policy goes on to state that “[r]einstatement after the one-year period is with the support of the ADAP [athletic department] treatment team and Athletic Director and at the request of the Head Coach, dependent upon negative drug screen.”

Additionally, and if Mathieu were to be reinstated, the policy reads that other conditions could be placed on the player’s return, including the “loss of scholarship, game suspension, etc.”  If a reinstated athlete were to be subsequently tested and the result “reveals the existence of drugs at any time, an automatic positive test will be issued and Permanent Ineligibility to participate at LSU will result.”

In other words, it would be one strike and he’s out at LSU.  Provided reinstatement is even a realistic possibility, of course.

“Yeah, [Mathieu] will not be back,” Miles said Friday when asked if the dismissal was permanent.

UPDATED 3:07 p.m. ET: A source close to Mathieu has disputed Schad’s report, telling the New Orleans Times-Picayune that a return to LSU “would not be happening.”  The source went on to tell the paper that Mathieu hopes to have a transfer decision made by Wednesday, and that, right now, McNeese State is the only viable option.

Mathieu visited the FCS school over the weekend.

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.