Three suspended LSU football players may return in time for the Tigers’ Nov. 5 showdown with Alabama if they first meet a series of stipulations for their reinstatement to the team, a source with knowledge of the situation said Friday.
Sources said Wednesday that starting cornerback and Heisman Trophy candidate Tyrann Mathieu, starting tailback Spencer Ware and backup cornerback Tharold Simon were been suspended for violating team rules. Their suspensions leave them out of Saturday’s game between No. 1-ranked LSU and No. 19 Auburn in Tiger Stadium (2:30 p.m., CBS).
LSU coach Les Miles has declined to officially confirm the suspensions, saying Wednesday only that his team was dealing with an internal matter.
Several media outlets have reported the players tested positive for banned substances, or more specifically, tested positive a second time, triggering their suspensions.
The players’ suspensions would be in line with LSU’s written substance abuse policy, which on a second offense calls for an automatic suspension “from up to 15 percent of countable contests and/or suspension up to 30 days or combination thereof.”
LSU’s penalty for a third positive drug test is a one-year suspension from competition.
LSU-Bama in prime time?
WAFB-TV reported Friday that CBS may show the Nov. 5 LSU-Alabama game in prime time.
The report said moving the game from 2:30 p.m. to prime time was even “likely,” but that the move was contingent on LSU beating Auburn and No. 2 Alabama defeating Tennessee on Saturday.
LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent said he spoke to Southeastern Conference spokesman Charles Bloom about the possibility.
Vincent said the decision whether to show the game in prime time on CBS or not is an issue between the conference and its network TV partners, CBS and ESPN.
“Whenever they tell us to play, we’ll play,” Vincent said.
CBS Sports spokesman Dan Sabreen was contacted Friday regarding the game, but he could not immediately provide comment.
Traditionally, CBS shows just one prime-time game per year. The network already used its prime-time slot on the Oct. 1 Alabama-Florida game.
The LSU-Alabama game has not yet been officially selected by CBS, but will likely be picked no later than Monday.
Because Saturday is an ACT testing day, it will be a light recruiting weekend for LSU, though the one prospect expected to come on his official visit is a heavyweight.
Kwon Alexander (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), an outside linebacker from Oxford, Ala., is expected to take his official according to LSU Rivals’ site TigerBait.com.
Alexander is rated by Scout.com as the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect and top outside linebacker. He is No. 27 on the ESPNU 150 (which ranks him the No. 3 outside linebacker) and No. 170 on the Rivals 250 (No. 15 outside linebacker).
Meanwhile, ESPN has revised its ranking of the nation’s top prospects, and Dutchdown High’s Landon Collins has moved up to No. 7 on the latest version of the ESPNU 150.
Collins is rated as Louisiana’s only five-star prospect and the No. 1 safety prospect in America. Three other Louisiana players are on the ESPNU 150: LSU commitment Torshiro Davis, No. 70, a defensive end from Shreveport Woodlawn; Ronnie Feist, No. 127, an outside linebacker from Edgard West St. John; and Lorenzo Phillips, No. 138, an outside linebacker from Patterson who recently decommitted to Florida. Phillips is considering LSU among a host of other schools.
Meanwhile, Gunner Kiel, rated by Scout.com as the nation’s top quarterback prospect, is reportedly “re-evaluating” his commitment to in-state Indiana and will visit other schools. He’s been most heavily pursued by Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma and Southern California, but is also listed as considering LSU by ESPN and Scout.
LSU continues to sit at 20 commitments for 2012.