As Rutgers prepares for the start of spring football practices, one player who had previously set his sights on winning a starting job at linebacker is no longer a part of the team. L.J. Liston has been dismissed from the roster, head coach Kyle Flood confirmed.
“L.J. is no longer a member of the Rutgers football program,” Flood said in a statement released by the university Friday afternoon. “He’s currently exploring other options for his career as a student-athlete. We wish him well.”
Flood provided no reason beyond any such dismissal. Liston has been one to cross a line under Flood in the past though. As NJ.com reports, Liston was held out of a pair of practices last summer due to not passing a conditioning test, and he was suspended for one game last season for failure to meet academic standards.
Although Liston had hopes of winning the starting job, Rutgers will still have a couple of options to work with at middle linebacker. Rutgers has added former South Carolina linebacker Kaiwain Lewis , a New Jersey native, as a graduate transfer this summer, thus allowing him to play right away this fall. The Scarlet Knights also padded the roster with junior college transfer Isaiah Johnson. Johnson is enrolled at Rutgers this semester and can participate in spring football practices.
Rutgers is scheduled to open spring practice on Tuesday, March 24.
South Carolina linebacker Kaiwan Lewis will not be a part of the linebacker mix in Columbia in 2015. The junior announced on Twitter on Monday he is leaving the Gamecocks football program in search of a new place to play football for his senior season.
Lewis had been buried on the South Carolina depth chart at middle linebacker, sitting behind Skai Moore and Marcquis Roberts on South Carolina’s depth chart for the Independence Bowl match-up against Miami.
In his statement on social media, Lewis says he will graduate from South Carolina this spring. This will allow him to transfer to another FBS program and be eligible to play right away in the fall. The New Jersey native was a three-star prospect out of high school according to Rivals.com, and he chose South Carolina over offers from a good number of programs including Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, Tennessee and Rutgers.
We happen to share plenty of the negative stories surrounding college football players in the offseason, so it is refreshing to be able to share a positive story.
Kaiwan Lewis, a starting linebacker at South Carolina, took it upon himself to organize a free football clinic for the Pleasantville Jokers junior football league team. He rounded up some former high school teammates and opponents to help out for the worthy cause. Some of those who helped out with the clinic included Virginia outside linebacker Max Valles and Penn State linebacker Brandon Bell. In all, 20 kids between the ages of six and 14 took advantage of the opportunity to work on some football skills in the clinic.
“I played on the same field as a child, so I wanted to come back and show the kids that there is a way out, and the world is bigger than this community,” Lewis said, according to The Press of Atlantic City. “I’m not going to be somebody who just made it and forget where I came from.”
“We either had our dad or our older brother take us outside,” Bell said,” so this is definitely better than anything we ever had. Hopefully we can grow and make it a bigger thing each year.”
It is important to remember there are plenty of college football players doing good things out there to hopefully make a difference. This story is a reminder of just that.