Joe McKnight

LSU loses No. 1 recruit in Class of 2017 (for now), but track record suggests Tigers win it back

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When a recruit from a recruiting class two classes away commits from a school it is rarely much of a shock. This one is a little bit different. Dylan Moses, the nation’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2017 and a Baton Rouge native, has decommitted from LSU. The top-ranked recruit from Baton Rouge backing away from LSU? That seems odd.

Moses took to Twitter to explain the decision he and his family came to recently, in which he stressed this being a once in a lifetime opportunity that he wants to live out to the fullest. And who can blame him? As talented as he is, Moses will be given star treatment wherever he goes while on the recruiting trail, and we should all be so lucky to receive such treatment from any college football program you wish. He did say, at one point, LSU remains his No. 1 school on the list (and having his cousin, Corey Raymond, on the coaching staff certainly helps).

LSU has been in on the recruiting of Moses for a while now. Moses was extended a scholarship offer from Les Miles in 2012 just after starting high school. LSU extending (and accepting) offers from the youngest talent on the recruiting boards is nothing new, and episodes like this should not be unexpected. Recruiting is a tense process for any player to go through.

Moses is ranked by Rivals as the number one athlete in the nation, and the number two overall player in the Class of 2017. He is also the top-rated recruit in the state of Louisiana, just for good measure. As you might suspect, Moses holds offers from a ton of programs from coast to coast, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC and so many more.

LSU may still land the commitment of Moses. The last time the top recruit in the state of Louisiana did not go to LSU was in the Class of 2012, with Alabama swaying Landon Collins away out of Geismar (much to the dismay of his mother). Since 2002, LSU has not landed the top recruit from within the state just three times. Quarterback Robert Lane committed to Ole Miss in 2003 and running back Joe McKnight ended up at USC in the Class of 2007. So the track record is good for LSU, as the Tigers have been dominant with in-state talent over the last decade.

Mum’s McKnight’s word on latest USC allegations

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Coming off a two-year postseason ban courtesy of NCAA sanctions related to impermissible benefits found to have been given to a former player, USC entered the 2012 season as the No. 1 team in the country according to the Associated Press and some others.

The day the Trojans kicked off a season rife with BcS title aspirations, however, the football program slammed headfirst into yet another round of allegations centered on impermissible benefits.  The school vowed to get to the bottom of it and the NCAA subsequently confirmed it was investigating it; the player at the center of it has decided to lalalalalaicanthearyou his way through the current and ongoing situation.

According to the Los Angeles Times, former USC running back Joe McKnight, currently a running back for the New York Jets, was asked about the allegations following practice Friday.  McKnight’s response?

Approached after a New York Jets practice, McKnight walked out of the locker room at the team’s facility, retreating to an area off-limits to media.

In its most recent report — something that wouldn’t surprise one prominent agent in the least — the Times alleged that McKnight, while he was a member of the Trojans, received from a former Los Angeles County official currently embroiled in a corruption scandal a vehicle as well as an airline ticket, part of what’s described as several thousands of dollars of impermissible benefits to the player.

In December of 2009, a report surfaced that McKnight, who as a junior made himself available for the April 2010 NFL draft, was the subject of an internal investigation by the school regarding a 2007 Range Rover the then-Trojan was seen driving around campus.  That vehicle was registered to Scott Schenter, the former county official in the center of the corruption brouhaha and fingered by the Times as giving impermissible benefits to McKnight.

At the time of the Rover ruckus, Schenter was the boss of McKnight’s girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child.

Nothing untoward was found by the school or the NCAA nearly three years ago relating to either the vehicle or McKnight’s relationship to Schenter.  Whether that remains the case in this latest round of allegations remains to be seen.

And whether or not the Trojans could be facing yet another swinging of the NCAA’s hammer.

USC, Joe McKnight under the impermissible benefits microscope again

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So, you just wanted to watch some football, right? Not so fast. What would the football season be without some off-the-field distraction?

It just so happens to involve the No. 1 team in the country, USC, which will kick off its season against Hawaii later tonight. The Los Angeles Times reports that “A key figure in the ongoing corruption scandal at the Los Angeles County assessor’s office said he gave cash and perks worth thousands of dollars to two USC athletes while they were still in school, actions that could violate college sports rules.”

Specifically, the allegations involve former running back Joe McKnight,  a car and an airline ticket. Basketball player Davon Jefferson is also connected to about $3,700 in cash. USC athletic director Pat Haden (pictured) replied to the paper with a response of “We are dedicated to playing and competing the right way.”

There’s a lot going on today, so you’re probably better served to just read the story HERE (and here’s more response from USC). We’ll have more on it later as I’m sure the story will be a developing one.

This is an incredibly inopportune story to come out for a program that is coming off a two-year bowl ban and will play the 2012 season with 75 scholarship players because of NCAA sanctions.