Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

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Ragin’ Cajuns LB dismissed after felony identity theft arrest

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After a rather quiet week or so on the arrest front, the last couple of days have made some noise.

The latest racket can be attributed to a Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football player, with multiple media outlets reporting that Ferrod Gardner was arrested last Friday for felony identity theft.  The linebacker was released from jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

No details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.

As a result of the felony arrest, Gardner has been dismissed from the football program for violating unspecified team rules.  UL confirmed the dismissal nearly a week after the arrest, and not long after the news of the situation became public knowledge.

Gardner was a JUCO transfer who joined the Sun Belt Conference team this past offseason.  The Daily Advertiser writes that “Gardner was slated to start at the Will inside linebacker position, but he never played a game for the Cajuns after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a foot injured early in preseason camp.”

A&M player apologizes for double-barrel middle fingers aimed at Kyle Field crowd

Associated Press
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You knew this one was coming.

Frustrated coming off the field trailing Louisiana 21-14, one Texas A&M player, later identified as Will Gunnell, displayed said frustration by flipping off the Kyle Field crowd as the Aggies headed into the locker room.  Because of that lack of class, Gunnell did not come back on the field with the rest of his A&M teammates as the football program caught wind of his actions.

Not long after the game ended, the true freshman wide receiver took to Twitter to apologize for what he had wrought, although he claimed that his “ill-advised gesture [was] in no way directed at the fans.”

On the field, A&M was able to right the ship in the second half as the Aggies shut the Ragin’ Cajuns out the final two quarters in pulling away to a 45-21 win.  While they came away with the victory, the first-half-play and Gunnell’s display no doubt cranked up the temperature underneath Kevin Sumlin‘s coaching seat a couple of degrees.

13 suspended UL-L players have felony charges reduced

Louisiana-Lafayette athletics
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What could have been a devastating blow to Louisiana-Lafayette’s depth chart may have been averted.

In late April, UL-L announced that a whopping 13 players, tight end Matthew Barnes, defensive end Joe Dillon, left guard Robert Hunt, defensive back Denarius Howard, defensive end Jarvis Jeffries, defensive tackle LaDarrius Kidd, linebacker Terik Miller, defensive back Damar’ren Mitchell, running back Trey Ragas, defensive back Simeon Thomas, defensive back Levarious Varnado, left tackle D’Aquin Withrow and running back Jordan Wright, had been indefinitely suspended after they were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit felony theft.  It was alleged that, based on surveillance video evidence, that the baker’s dozen players broke into a dorm room and stole in the neighborhood of $2,400 worth of items from the residence.

While each player was initially facing a felony count, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser has reported that all of the charges have been reduced to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.  Furthermore, the newspaper writes, “all 13… can have the charges against them dropped upon completion of community service, drug testing and other intervention program requirements.”

“The fact that they’re football players is not a factor,” District Attorney Keith Stutes told the Associated Press. “Without significant prior criminal involvement, I believe in the opportunity for redemption and to not have scar on their records for the rest of their lives.”

The reduced charges were welcome news to the football program, although it’s unclear if the incident will cost any of those involved playing time.

“We are relieved that this issue is nearing closure,” a statement from head coach Mark Hudspeth. “These young men have learned and will continue to learn from this tremendous life lesson. We will continue to be respectful of the legal process as it runs its course.”

Seven of those involved started games last season — Hunt (13), Withrow (13), Mitchell (11), Dillon (eight), Jeffries (seven), Thomas (seven) and Howard (two).  Dillon was named a Freshman All-American by several organizations after leading the Ragin’ Cajuns with 12.5 tackles for losses and seven sacks in 2016.

Wright (pictured, No. 27) wasn’t a starter, but he was fourth on the team last season with 192 yards rushing.  With the departure of leading rusher Elijah McGuire (1,127 yards), Wright, Ragas and Darius Hoggins (281 yards last season) are expected to compete or the starting running back job this season.

UL-L is scheduled to open the 2017 season Sept. 2 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Louisiana-Lafayette suspends 13 players arrested on felony charges

Louisiana-Lafayette athletics
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This’ll certainly leave a mark on the ol’ depth chart.

Louisiana-Lafayette announced Tuesday night that a total of 13 players have been indefinitely suspended by head coach Mark Hudspeth.  Those 13 are tight end Matthew Barnes, defensive end Joe Dillon, left guard Robert Hunt, defensive back Denarius Howard, defensive end Jarvis Jeffries, defensive tackle LaDarrius Kidd, linebacker Terik Miller, defensive back Damar’ren Mitchell, running back Trey Ragas, defensive back Simeon Thomas, defensive back Levarious Varnado, left tackle D’Aquin Withrow and running back Jordan Wright.

While the school attributed the suspensions to a violation of unspecified team rules, KATC-TV is reporting that all 13 of the players were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to commit felony theft stemming from an incident earlier this month.

From the television station’s report:

According to investigators, surveillance video shows the 13 players going to a room on the fourth floor of the Huger Hall dormitory and stealing around $2,400 worth of items from the room. Police say the students surrendered after warrants for their arrests were issued.

Seven of those suspended started games last season — Hunt (13), Withrow (13), Mitchell (11), Dillon (eight), Jeffries (seven), Thomas (seven) and Howard (two).  Dillon was named a Freshman All-American by several organizations after leading the Ragin’ Cajuns with 12.5 tackles for losses and seven sacks in 2016.

Wright (pictured, No. 27) wasn’t a starter, but he was fourth on the team last season with 192 yards rushing.  With the departure of leading rusher Elijah McGuire (1,127 yards), Wright, Ragas and Darius Hoggins (281 yards last season) are expected to compete or the starting running back job this season.

UL-L is scheduled to open the 2017 season Sept. 2 against Southeastern Louisiana.

Official beers of LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette could soon be outlawed

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Lawmakers in the state of Louisiana will soon make a decision that could cut off a revenue stream for both LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette. A bill to prohibit universities in the state with having partnerships with breweries would mean official beers for LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette would have to cease to be brewed.

The piece of legislature is House Bill 610 was introduced by Democratic state representative Cedric Glover, who has made it his personal mission to make it illegal for schools to arrange official beer partnerships to brand university images on alcoholic beverages.

“Why would we have wanted to officially license and brand and tie an alcoholic beverage to a school?” Glover asked in a story by The Advocate. “Deep in my heart, I just know it’s wrong for us as a state to allow a public university to put our official stamp of approval on an alcoholic beverage.”

If passed, the bill would not immediately shut down the existing partnerships LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette have, but would prevent them from renewing those contracts when they expire. Of course, LSU president F. King Alexander is suggesting Glover has other motives.

“It’s nonsense. Glover likes to throw stones,” Alexander said. “He’s never been a fan of LSU.”

For what it is worth, Glover attended LSU in college (as well as Grambling State).