Less than two weeks before the start of a new season, Louisiana Tech officially learned that one of its most productive offensive players in 2013 will be available in 2014 as well.
The Bulldogs announced in a release Monday that Sterling Griffin has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The wide receiver missed the entire season in 2010 (ankle) and all but the first two games in 2012 (ACL) with injuries, so the decision was a no-brainer for The Association.
“Sterling is what the sixth year rule is made for,” said head coach Skip Holtz in a statement. “This wasn’t something we were worried about as long as the NCAA looked at it with the doctor’s notes and the surgery notes, and it was well documented what was there.
“Any time you are dealing with it, it is always nice to have that final word. So, it was great when we got the call that Sterling has been approved for his sixth year and we are going to need him because right now it is going to be one of the staples on our offense on the perimeter.”
Griffin transferred from USF to Tech in mid-August of last year. His head coach with the Bulls, Holtz, is now the Bulldogs head coach.
Last season, Griffin led the team with 357 yards and was second in receptions with 33. He’s the leading returning receiver for the Bulldogs.
(Photo credit: Louisiana Tech athletics)
South Florida’s wide receiver unit has seen its fair share of attrition over the past several months. The latest to depart the program, sophomore D’vario Montgomery, has already decided on a transfer destination.
Not that there was a whole lot of time to think about it anyway with the season just over a week away.
Iowa State announced in a statement that Montgomery has joined the Cyclones program where he’ll be reunited with his high school teammate, Sam Richardson. Richardson is believed to be the leading candidate to win the starting quarterback job for the Cyclones in 2013 after finishing out the end of the 2012 season.
Montgomery will have to sit out the 2013 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2014. News of Montgomery’s decision first came via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
Montgomery confirmed his intentions to the paper, saying there was “no animosity” toward USF or new coach Willie Taggart.
“I want to thank everybody who did anything for me from USF. I just feel like it’s time to go,” Montgomery said.
Though Montgomery caught just six passes last season as a freshman, he was thought to have a lot of potential and his size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) makes him an attractive target. Instead, he becomes the third Bulls receive to depart the program over the offseason. Sterling Griffin opted to leave USF and play football at Louisiana Tech and former coach Skip Holtz, and Terrence Mitchell was suspended and will not be playing this fall.
Nearly two months after unexpectedly announcing he was transferring from USF, Sterling Griffin has found himself a new college home for at least the next year.
Louisiana Tech announced Monday that the wide receiver has decided to transfer into the Bulldogs’ football program. Griffin will reunite with Skip Holtz, who was the Bulls coach from 2010 until he was fired following the 2012 season.
As Griffin graduated from USF over the weekend, he will be eligible to play for Tech immediately in 2013.
“I am exciting that Sterling has decided to join us,” Holtz said in a statement. “I am excited about what he brings to the table as a person, as a student-athlete who has already received his undergraduate degree and as a football player.”
Because of a pair of injuries that cost him most of two season (2012, 2010), Griffin could receive a medical waiver from the NCAA and a sixth season of eligibility. Such a move would give the player two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2013.
Griffin caught 43 passes for 530 yards and three touchdowns in 2011 despite missing four games due to yet another injury. In his true freshman season in 2009, Griffin started 10 of the 13 games in which he played and caught 14 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
The addition of Griffin, if healthy, would be a boon to the Tech receiving corps as the Bulldogs will be forced to replace their top two receivers from a year ago — Quinton Patton and Myles White, who combined for 160 catches, 2,110 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.
For the first time in a while, USF is getting good news related to the wide receiver spot.
Per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, wide receiver Chris Dunkley has been reinstated to the team. Dunkley has been serving a suspension handed down by coach Willie Taggart since March. That suspension was tacked on to the one he had been serving since last October, which stemmed from a domestic violence charge he received in September.
Dunkley had his legal issue resolved in May, but Taggart indicated Dunkley had more to do before returning to the team. Whatever those items were, the Florida transfer has apparently completed them.
Dunkley finished the 2012 season with four receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the five games before his suspension. But his return does help the Bulls’ wide receiver unit, which has recently seen the departures of Terrence Mitchell and Sterling Griffin.
Veteran, yet oft-injured, receiver Sterling Griffin was expected to be a key component of USF’s offense in 2013. That won’t be the case, however.
The receiver announced Friday in a surprising move that he will graduate this summer and finish out his eligibility elsewhere.
“I’ve had a great experience at USF and I’ll cherish the memories and relationships I’ve made while on campus,” Griffin said in a statement. “I appreciate Coach (Willie) Taggart for all he’s done since taking over the program, and I wish this team nothing but the best moving forward. I want to thank my teammates, the fans, the administration and all the support staff, especially the athletic training staff, who have helped me during my time here.”
Where Griffin goes next isn’t known right now, but he could have upwards of two years of eligibility remaining if he receives a sixth year. Griffin sustained a season-ending knee injury in just the second game of the year in 2012 for which he could receive a medical redshirt. He also missed all of 2010 with an ankle injury and another four games in 2011.
Sterling’s departure suddenly leaves USF with depth concerns at the wide receiver spot. Previously-suspended Terrence Mitchell will transfer to the Division II level and Chris Dunkley remains suspended.
(Hat tip: Tampa Bay Times)