It’s still unclear where Tyrann Mathieu will land, but it appears that school will not be Southern. After Monday’s practice, Jaguars coach Stump Mitchell said his request to speak with Mathieu was denied by LSU, and he has had no contact with the talented but troubled cornerback.
“We didn’t get permission to speak with him, so the answer is no,” Mitchell said.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said the school will not comment on whose requests are approved or denied. The Tigers will remain involved in the process because they have to grant Mathieu his release to a new team if he transfers.
Mitchell said in a Sunday radio interview that he had reached out to the Tigers, but his request did not receive the same approval that was apparently granted to another in-state Football Championship Subdivision school, McNeese State.
Cowboys coach Matt Viator said in a statement that he called LSU for permission before meeting with Mathieu on Friday.
Rather than dwell on the rejection, Mitchell was focused on moving forward with his team as it prepares for the season opener at New Mexico on Sept. 1.
“It doesn’t matter,” Mitchell said. “I’m concerned about the guys who we have here. That’s who I’m trying to coach and get better.”
RB Joseph likely out for year
Southern’s running back duo of Sylvester Nzekwe and Jerry Joseph has been broken up before it ever had a chance to take off.
Mitchell said Joseph, who has been held out of practices since last week, will likely miss the entire season with a torn meniscus in his knee. Because of the location of the tear, a more complex surgery with a longer recovery time is required.
“We’re looking at about six months, so that’s it for him,” Mitchell said. “It’s a huge loss. Sylvester can’t play, and we’re down to the fourth-string running back right now, and that’s where we’re at.”
Nzekwe has been limited by an ankle injury but did participate in drills Monday. Freshman Lenard Tillery returned from a rib injury but is still bogged down in the playbook, as are converted defensive back Darrius Coleman and former sprinter Terrance Clayton.
Joseph was expected to provide a powerful complement to Nzekwe’s slashing style this season, and although he was used sparingly in 2011 (nine carries for 25 yards), coaches had high hopes for him.
Now, SU will explore options for obtaining a waiver from the NCAA that will grant the 5-foot-11, 202-pound redshirt senior another year of eligibility.
Watkins not with team
Mitchell said sophomore defensive end Jeffrey Watkins is not with the team because of academic reasons.
“Hopefully he’ll be back in school and ready to go in the spring, but he didn’t get the necessary grade point average,” Mitchell said.
Watkins, a 6-3, 225-pounder from Mangham, led the Jaguars in sacks a year ago with five for 41 yards.
Linebacker Wynton Perro (concussion) was held out of practice on Monday, and freshman offensive lineman Reginald Redding was to meet with the team’s medical staff after injuring his right arm during Saturday’s scrimmage. Redding had the arm in a sling Monday morning. In more positive injury news, receiver Michael Berry (hamstring) said he expects to return Wednesday.