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Kristian Fulton’s lawyer: ‘Optimistic’ decision on reduction of LSU CB’s two-year suspension is coming soon

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At some point in the next couple of weeks, LSU could find out, once and for all, whether one of the most talented members of its defensive secondary will be available for the upcoming season.

In mid-March, it was confirmed that Kristian Fulton is in the midst of serving a two-year suspension levied by the NCAA, which stemmed from his alleged tampering with a drug-test sample in the early months of 2017. The suspension has already cost the cornerback the entire 2017 season, and could also sideline him for all of 2018 as well.

Fulton’s family had previously retained outside counsel, who then asked the NCAA for reconsideration of the two-year suspension. Tuesday, that counsel, Alabama-based lawyer Don Jackson, confirmed to the New Orleans Times-Picayune that “a ‘request for reconsideration based on new evidence’ was officially filed with the NCAA a few weeks ago and an answer could come in 2-3 weeks, possibly sooner.”

It’s alleged by the NCAA that a testing administrator witnessed Fulton pouring some type of substance into his urine sample during a drug test. It appears Fulton’s lawyer isn’t challenging that allegation; rather, he’s questioning the rule — 3.4 of The Association’s Drug-Testing protocol, to be specific — that was applied by the NCAA.

From the Times-Picayune‘s report:

The rule states, “A student-athlete who is involved in a case of clearly observed tampering with an NCAA drug-test sample, as documented per NCAA drug-testing protocol by a drug-testing crew member, shall be charged with the loss of a minimum of two seasons of competition in all sports and shall remain ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition during the time period ending two calendar years (730 days) from the date of the tampering.”

Jackson feels that Fulton violated rule 3.3 which says, “a student-athlete will be in breach of protocol and treated as if there was a positive test for a banned substance other than a street/illicit drug as denied in Bylaw 31.2.3 if the student-athlete:

* refuses to sign the notification form or custody and control form;

* fails to arrive at the collection station without justification as determined by Drug-Free Sport;

* fails to provide a urine specimen according to protocol;

* leaves the collection station without authorization from the certified collector before providing a specimen according to protocol; or

* attempts to alter the integrity of the collection process.”

Under rule 3.3, Fulton would not have been suspended if he tested positive for a street drug and would have only been suspended for a year if he would have tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs, which means he’d be eligible now if he tested positive for either substance.

If the reconsideration is successful and the last few months of the two-year ban are dropped, Jackson could resume on-field activities with the Tigers at some point during summer camp, perhaps even from the start of camp if it’s the earlier portion of the 2-3 week timeline laid out by the attorney.

Fulton, a five-star 2016 signee, played in three games as a true freshman. If the reconsideration is denied, it would leave Fulton with one season of collegiate eligibility he could use in 2019. He could also make himself available for the 2019 NFL draft, regardless of the outcome.

Western Kentucky’s leading tackler taking grad transfer to Purdue

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A significant loss for Western Kentucky’s defense could prove to be a boon for Purdue on that side of the ball.

In an email to the West Lafayette Journal & Courier, Ben Holt confirmed that he has decided to transfer from Western Kentucky to Purdue and continue his collegiate playing career with the Boilermakers.  As he is expected to graduate from WKU in May, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2019 for the Big Ten school.

Holt is the son of Nick Holt, who has spent the past two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Purdue.  Ben Holt’s head coach his first two seasons with the Hilltoppers was Jeff Brohm, who is entering his third year in the same job with the Boilermakers.

This past season, Holt started all 12 games for the Hilltoppers.  He led the team in tackles with 116, tackles for losses with 11½ and quarterback hurries with nine.  His five pass breakups were good for third on the squad in 2018.

All told, Holt played in 38 games his past three seasons in Bowling Green.

Holt becomes the third former Hilltopper to transfer to the Boilermakers since Brohm came to West Lafayette.  Starting linebacker T.J. McCollum followed the coach in February of 2017, with starting offensive lineman Dennis Edwards following McCollum a year later.

Alabama LB Chris Allen undergoes surgery, per report

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The near-complete revamping of Nick Saban‘s coaching staff wasn’t the only football news coming out of Tuscaloosa late this past week.

According to al.com, outside linebacker Chris Allen underwent what was described as a minor surgical procedure on his knee Thursday.  The specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Allen, who missed the entire 2018 season after tearing an ACL, is expected to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice, which kicks off next month.

A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 recruiting class, Allen was rated as the No. 4 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Alabama.  As a true freshman, the Baton Rouge native played in seven games.

As noted by the website, Allen is set to be one of the Tide’s top backup linebackers on the outside this coming season.

Minnesota dismisses TE who allegedly punched cop in the face

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Yeah, that’ll do it.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota tight end Max Janes is facing felony charges after allegedly assaulting a police officer very early in the morning of Feb. 8.  It’s alleged that an intoxicated Janes was in the process of breaking into a post office when police officers responded, with the football player ultimately turning violent and allegedly punching one of the cops in the face.

From the Star Tribune‘s report:

According to the criminal complaint: Officers were dispatched to a welfare check on reports of an individual improperly dressed for the cold weather loitering outside the post office. They located Janes just as he gained unlawful entry into the building’s loading dock. Officers placed Janes in their squad car, but opened the rear door after he informed them that he needed to vomit.

Instead, Janes got out and punched an officer — causing demonstrable bodily harm, the complaint says. He was eventually restrained and booked at Hennepin County jail, where he was charged with fourth-degree assault of a peace officer and obstructing the legal process.

As a result of the off-field incident, Janes was dismissed from the football team.

“We have extremely high standards for members of our team and when those standards are not met there are consequences,” head coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers speak to our team and educate them multiple times a year, and we greatly appreciate those who protect and serve us on a daily basis.”

A preferred walk-on, Janes played in 13 games as a true freshman this past season.  The vast majority of his action came on special teams.

Wyoming’s OL coach shuffle continues with hiring of Ohio assistant

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Maybe the third time will be a charm?

Following the end of the 2018 season, Craig Bohl parted ways with his long-time offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and embarked on a search for a replacement. That search ended with Wyoming’s hiring of Klayton Adams; less than a month later, another search for a line coach was launched as Adams took a job as the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

A little over a week later, and while there’s nothing official yet from the Cowboys, Frank Solich confirmed to the Athens Messenger this past week that Ohio’s offensive line coach, Bart Miller, has taken the same job at Wyoming.

“Our coaches loved working with him, our players loved working with him. We appreciate what he was all about and how he helped our team be what it was last year,” the head coach told the Messenger.

Last season was Miller’s first with the Bobcats. As the newspaper noted, this will mark Miller’s fourth different school in as many years as he was on the coaching staffs at Minnesota and Air Force in 2016 and 2017, respectively.