Reports: FCS-bound Mathieu failed drug tests ahead of LSU boot

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Well, that certainly didn’t take long.

Early Friday afternoon, LSU announced that All-American cornerback Tyrann Matthieu had been dismissed from the Tigers for a violation of team rules, a decision school officials said was made last night.  Well, 24 hours later, Mathieu reportedly has found a new football home.

In a tweet from now-former teammate Josh Jasper, the kicker/punter “reports” that Mathieu has moved on to McNeese State in Louisiana.  The FCS-level school has not confirmed Mathieu’s addition to the roster.

If Jasper is accurate, it would mean that LSU dismissed Mathieu as “eligible” and the defensive back would be permitted to play immediately at his new program.  The move, again if confirmed, would be reminiscent of fellow defensive back and All-SEC performer Janzen Jackson‘s move from Tennessee to the same school in August of last year.

Jackson’s dismissal reportedly stemmed from failed drug tests.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that Mathieu’s dismissal came as a result of what the website calls “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.”  Mathieu, along with two teammates, were suspended for one game last season, reportedly for a failed drug test or tests.

Neither head coach Les Miles nor athletic director Joe Alleva would confirm that failed drug tests resulted in the dismissal, but the latter stated that, whatever violation of school policy led to the boot, it was an ongoing issue.

“This was just a team policy, not going to confirm or deny either way,” Alleva said when asked about failed drug tests. “The policy is a written policy. It’s like the speed limit, if you are going over the speed limit, you’re breaking the law. He’s been over the speed limit. As in, he’s been over it a lot.”

According to LSU’s drug policy for athletes, “[u]p to [a] one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition” are automatically triggered after a third failed drug test.  A second failed drug test would result in a one-game suspension (15 percent of that sport’s regular season games, rounded down); as mentioned previously, Mathieu was suspended for one game last season, although the reason for the suspension was never confirmed by the school.

Updated 8/11 @ 1:06 p.m. ET: According a release from McNeese State “Mathieu has not made a decision on his intentions and there will be no other comments from McNeese about the issue at this time.” The release did state, however, that the two sides have met.

Clemson lands No. 1 overall player in Class of 2020

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Clemson has managed to dominate college football without really dominating the college football recruiting rankings. Since 2015, the Tigers’ classes have ranked, in order, No. 9, No. 11, No. 16, No. 7 and No. 10, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Those are good classes, to be sure, but not necessarily great ones; they’re the type of classes you’d expect to lead to a team competing for ACC championships and New Year’s Six bowls, not beating Alabama in the national championship game twice in three years.

Clearly, Clemson’s coaches have cornered the market on finding a few great players and a bunch of really good ones, then developing them to all play like great players. The question then becomes: What happens if Clemson starts recruiting a bunch of great players? What happens if, in addition to playing like Alabama, Clemson started recruiting like Alabama?

We’re about to find out.

The Tigers on Tuesday landed Bryan Breese, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive tackle from Damascus, Md., who happens to be the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2020, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

“At the end of this little run I was really between Clemson, Georgia and Penn State and over that last visit everyone talks about you’ll feel it and I didn’t understand that till the last visit and I got the feeling and knew where I was supposed to be,” Bresee told 247Sports.

But Tuesday’s news wasn’t just about Breese. He became Clemson’s first 5-star commitment of this class, joining a group of 11 4-stars that vaults the Tigers over Alabama for the No. 1 spot in the 2020 team rankings, with three less players on board than the Crimson Tide. Beyond Breese, Clemson is also favored to land 5-star quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, 5-star defensive end Jordan Burch and 5-star Myles Murphy, all of whom rank in the top 10 nationally, plus 5-star linebacker Antoine Sampah, who ranks No. 31 in the country.

If all that comes to pass, Clemson could follow one of the best seasons ever with one of the best recruiting classes ever.

“This class could be by far one of the best classes ever,” Bresee said. “I think definitely one of the best classes for Clemson.”

Transfers from Rutgers, Coastal Carolina land at same FCS school

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The same FCS program has double-dipped in the NCAA transfer portal, FBS division, in bulking up the talent on its football roster.

Monday afternoon, Albany announced via social media that running back Alex James and fullback Max Anthony have officially signed with the program.  James, a redshirt junior, comes to Albany from Coastal Carolina, Anthony, a fifth-year senior, from Rutgers.

As both players come to the Great Danes from the FBS ranks, they will each be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

The past two seasons for the Chanticleers, James has rushed for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries.  He also caught 16 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony had started six of the 27 games in which he played for the Scarlet Knights.

Witness in hoops trial claims he paid football players from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, others

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A sweeping college hoops scandal that’s engulfed the sport has now touched its gridiron counterpart.

Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial advisor-turned government informant after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, took the witness stand Tuesday in the college basketball fraud trial and levied some potentially explosive allegations.  As part of his testimony, Blazer alleged that, between 2000-14, he paid football players from, among others, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt.  The payments, some of which were in the thousands of dollars, were aimed at convincing the player to remain in college and not enter the NFL draft in the hopes that they would retain him as their financial adviser when they did turn pro.

The names of specific players were, for the most part, not mentioned by Blazer.

The most damning of the accusations made by Blazer seems to involve Penn State during the Joe Paterno era.  Specifically, Blazer alleges that he paid the father of then-Penn State player Aaron Maybin $10,000, with the payment being made at the behest of an unnamed Paterno assistant coach.

If accurate, the NCAA would consider such an arrangement a major infraction.  It’s unclear what, if any, action The Association will take on the football side of the accusations made under oath.

Requests for comment from each of the football programs mentioned in Blazer’s testimony have not yet been met with a response.

Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak latest QB to enter transfer database

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You can go ahead and add Kentucky to the burgeoning list of FBS schools that have lost signal-callers to the infamous portal.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak wrote that, “[a]fter much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal.” As Hoak is set to graduate from UK very early next month, the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program immediately in 2019.

As an added bonus for whichever school he ultimately chooses, Hoak has two seasons of eligibility available.

After losing out in the quarterback competition that ended in summer camp, Hoak spent the 2018 season as starter Terry Wilson‘s primary backup.  In that role, Hoak completed 13 of his 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Coming out of high school in Dublin, Ohio, Hoak was a three-star 2016 signee.