As John noted late last week, three of Wes Lunt‘s five possible transfer destinations — Southern Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — were reportedly deemed off-limits at the discretion of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. That left Lunt with two schools — Louisville and Illinois — to consider out of his original five.
According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, Lunt has already taken an unofficial visit to Illinois. Schad writes that Lunt feels comfortable with offensive coordinator Bill Cubit‘s offense and has a good relationship with Illini coach Tim Beckman. But while a visit to Champaign was expected for Lunt, the reasons behind Gundy’s decision to block certain schools from the QB’s transfer wish list have been more vague. That’s where Schad provides some clarity.
Schad reports that reasons for the restrictions include:
- That Lunt allegedly cited a desire to transfer “closer to home” and that those blocked schools are not “closer to home.”
- The belief that at least some coaches at some interested schools improperly contacted Lunt.
- The possibility Oklahoma State could face some of the blocked conferences in a bowl game.
If true, it would shed some light on why Gundy did what he did. Of course, it still looks bad for Gundy given that he’s just months removed from being a reported candidate for both the Arkansas and Tennessee jobs. And, for clarification purposes, Lunt can transfer wherever he wants; getting a grant-in-aid during his first year at his new school is what’s at stake.
Generally speaking, the fact that a coach can go from job to job with no consequence (outside of a buyout) while placing restrictions on players is ridiculous. The NCAA is providing some help to give athletes immediate eligibility in more pressing cases, though it has no bearing on those restrictions.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.