Last weekend, Marqise Lee stated that he “probably” would make a decision on his football future in the week after USC’s bowl game.
With a Trojans’ postseason win in the books, and for whatever it’s worth, the wide receiver’s self-appointed deadline has been stretched out a bit.
In the immediate aftermath of USC’s 45-20 trouncing of Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl Saturday, Lee said that he will make a decision on returning to the Trojans (highly unlikely) or making an early jump to the NFL (very likely) “within the next two weeks.” The junior said he would consult with, among others, new head coach Steve Sarkisian and athletic director Pat Haden.
The deadline for draft-eligible players to declare their NFL intentions is mid-January.
If as expected Lee makes the early leap to the NFL, the true junior is projected to be one of the first receivers taken. In what could be his final season at this level, though, Lee has battled both injuries and a coaching change in what’s easily been the worst of his three seasons in the Land of Troy.
His first two seasons with the Trojans, Lee totaled 191 receptions and 25 touchdowns, including 118 and 14 in 2012. Because of the injuries — and Matt Barkley‘s departure — Lee had just 50 catches and two touchdowns this season entering the bowl game. He had caught two or fewer passes in three of the nine games he’s played this year; that had happened just four times in 25 career games entering 2013.
In what could very well be his final game as a Trojan, Lee totaled seven receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Bulldogs. The yards and scores were season highs, while the catches were tied for his most (twice) since eight in the season opener Aug. 29 against Hawaii.
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.