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Ex-Rice player charged in the death of Owls DL Blain Padgett

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A sad story that played out over the spring and on into the summer has taken another twist.

In early March, Rice defensive end Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he failed to show for a football workout and a wellness check was performed. In late June, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the 21-year-old’s death was caused by the toxic effects of carfentanil, which was described as being designed originally as an elephant tranquilizer.

Friday, it’s being reported that former Owls defensive lineman Stuart Mouchantaf has been charged with manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance in connection to Padgett’s death.  Authorities allege that it was Mouchantaf who sold Padgett the pills that directly led to his death.

The charge Mouchantaf is facing is a second-degree felony that carries a penalty ranging from five years to 99 years or life in prison.

Padgett, who had undergone surgery a few months before his death, believed the pill he was taking was Hydrocodone. Carfentanil, the drug the pill Padgett took was laced with, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.  KTRK-TV in Houston wrote that “[a] lethal amount of carfentanil is so small, it’s invisible to the human eye.”

“Buyers need to understand that when they buy these pills on the streets instead of pharmacies, they are literally playing Russian Roulette,” Assistant District Attorney Paul Fortenberry said according to the television station. “These pills look like the real deal, but they in fact are far more dangerous than even cocaine or heroin and are far less expensive.”

The 25-year-old Mouchantaf played at Rice from 2012-15 after beginning his collegiate career at Blinn College.

In 2016, the 6-5, 250-pound Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all Owls defensive linemen with 41 tackles.  He played in just three games last season before going down with a shoulder injury, while also playing in eight games as a true freshman in 2015.

Suspension stands: LSU’s Devin White to miss first half of Alabama game

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Right or wrong (mostly the latter), LSU will be missing a significant piece of its defense for the first half of its huge Week 9 matchup with Alabama.

In the second half of LSU’s win over Mississippi State this past Saturday, Devin White was ejected after being called for targeting on MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.  As a result, White, one of the top linebackers in the country, would be in line to miss the first two quarters of next Saturday’s game against the Crimson Tide.

The subsequent outrage over what was, at best, an asinine targeting call — a call that was inexplicably upheld upon further review — led to a GoFundMe page being created to funnel donations toward billboards that would be erected in and around SEC headquarters in Birmingham, Ala.  Those billboards would’ve carried the hashtag #FreeDevinWhite, an attempt to get the conference to bend to public pressure and rescind the half-game suspension.

Additionally, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva very publicly looked to put pressure on the SEC to reverse what was seemingly an irreversible punishment.  In the end, we’re right back where we were three days ago — White will be watching from the sidelines when the LSU-Alabama game kicks off and will continue doing so until the second half kicks off.

“Discussions with the SEC made clear there is no process for appeal,” LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “The suspension will stand.”

White currently leads the Tigers in tackles with 76, and is tied for second on the team in tackles for loss with seven.  Additionally, he leads the team with six quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries.  His four pass breakups are tied for second as well, while his four passes defensed are tied for fourth.

Michigan losing four-star 2017 signee James Hudson to transfer

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For the second time in less than a week, Michigan has lost a four-star member of its 2017 recruiting class.

Amidst speculation regarding James Hudson‘s future with the football program, a U-M spokesperson has confirmed that the offensive tackle has decided to transfer from the Wolverines. The move away from Ann Arbor comes a couple of days after Hudson, the No. 2 right tackle, did not enter the win over Michigan State when starter Juwann Bushell-Beatty went out with an injury.

Instead, redshirt freshman Andrew Stueber took over on the right side of the line. After the game, Jim Harbaugh explained that Hudson has been dealing with a dislocated finger sustained the week before and that’s the reason Stueber entered the game.

That turn of events was also the likely trigger for Hudson’s decision to transfer.

A four-star member of the Wolverines’ recruiting class last year, Hudson was rated as the No. 13 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Ohio. Only one other defensive tackle in that class, Aubrey Solomon, was rated higher than Hudson, although he was moved to the other side of the ball this offseason.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Hudson played in three games this season.

In the middle of last week, another four-star 2017 signee, linebacker Drew Singleton, asked for and was granted a release from his U-M scholarship.

‘Mutual agreement’ sees RB Trelon Smith, Arizona State ‘part ways’

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A coach’s decision had kept Trelon Smith on the sidelines for the first half or so of the 2018 season. A player’s decision, in concert with the football program, will now keep the running back sidelined permanently, at least at Arizona State.

Both 247Sports.com and the Arizona Republic have reported that Smith has decided to transfer from the Sun Devils. The former website tweeted that Smith is “no longer a part of the team… [after] a mutual agreement [was reached],” while the latter wrote that “Smith and the ASU football program are parting ways” for unspecified reasons.

Smith did not play the first three games this season because of a coach’s decision/violation of unspecified team rules.

Smith was a three-star 2017 signee who played in nine games as a true freshman, carrying the ball just once for four yards. This season, after climbing out of his head coach’s doghouse, he carried the ball 11 times for 56 yards. Eight of those attempts and 45 of the yards came in his first game back, a loss to Washington Sept. 22.

Because he played in just four games and hasn’t yet used his redshirt, he’ll be able to keep a year of eligibility thanks to the new NCAA rule that has played a significant role in roster attrition this season. Including next season, Smith will have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

Injury issues force Ohio State DE Malik Barrow to medically retire

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Coming off an embarrassing on-field beating over the weekend, Ohio State’s roster depth has taken a bit of a hit as well.

On his personal Twitter account Sunday, Malik Barrow announced that, “due to unfortunate circumstances throughout my football career, I found it was in my best interests to medically retire.” The redshirt sophomore defensive tackle will remain on scholarship, but won’t count against OSU’s 85-man limit.

Barrow tore the ACL in one knee as a senior in high school, then, in the fourth game of the 2017 campaign, tore the ACL in the other knee during his redshirt freshman season with the Buckeyes. His rehab of the second serious knee injury extended on into spring practice this year, and the lineman hasn’t played at all during the 2018 season.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2016 recruiting class, Barrow was rated as the No. 32 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 42 player at any position in the state of Florida. He played in two games last season before going down with the injury.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Barrow’s departure, along with Nick Bosa withdrawing from school in order to get healthier and prep for the 2019 NFL draft, leaves the Buckeyes with 84 scholarship players.