The only active player linked to the recent agent scandal in the SEC was Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch, but that could be about to change. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones says Couch has been ruled ineligible as the Vols prepare for a big road test at Oregon this coming weekend. Jones announced the news on his radio show Thursday night, according to the Associated Press.
Jones said Tennessee’s compliance department is reviewing the situation. As it stands, Couch is still on the team and the school is taking precautions to ensure an informed decision is made on his future before making any irrational reactionary decisions for the program and for Couch. Whether or not Couch has played his last down for the Vols remains to be seen.
According to the information shared in a report by Yahoo Sports yesterday, Couch is allegedly accepted a total of $1,350 from Luther Davis, a former Alabama player who had reportedly been serving as a middleman between NFL agents and top players around the SEC. Couch was listed second on the Tennessee depth chart for this weekend’s game against the Oregon Ducks, so Tennessee is not losing a starting player as a result of this ruling. The Vols will take a hit in depth though, and against an offense in which having as many fresh defensive players as possible would be helpful, the timing could not have come at a more inconvenient time for the Vols.
Couch has played in each of Tennessee’s first two games. If the NCAA were to determine Couch would have been ineligible they could vacate Tennessee’s two victories to start the 2013 season, in addition to any games in 2012 that may have come while Couch may have been ineligible.
While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.
In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program. The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”
The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend. Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.
Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension. He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.
Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns. He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.
Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).
It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.
On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program. Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.
Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before. It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.
Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina. He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.
The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively. He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.