Barring a late miracle, Southern will have to do without Willie Quinn once again.
As of Monday afternoon, the freshman receiver still had not been deemed eligible by the NCAA’s Clearinghouse, making it unlikely he’ll be able to suit up Thursday night against Mississippi Valley State in the Jaguars’ home and Southwestern Athletic Conference opener.
SU coach Stump Mitchell said he’s still holding out hope that Quinn will be cleared in time, although he called that “wishful thinking.”
The holdup is due to a paperwork issue, stemming from the fact that Quinn attended two high schools.
While Southern feels Quinn’s clearance is a mere formality, he won’t be able to practice until it happens. Quinn attended Monday’s afternoon practice in shorts.
Quinn made a splash during preseason camp, flashing top-notch speed and hands that made his coaches and teammates look past his 5-foot-5, 141-pound frame to see a playmaker with big potential.
Southern has used him primarily as a slot receiver in practice, though he could also see time as a return man or in other, more creative scenarios on offense.
Mitchell said he’s confident Quinn will be able to play effectively if his eligibility changes this week, even with the time off.
“He has gotten enough practice time in, and we have some specific plays where missing a couple of practices would not affect the way he executes those plays,” Mitchell said.
Running backs Sylvester Nzekwe and Jerry Joseph were both back at full speed Monday after injuries caused them to miss preseason practices and the season opener.
Mitchell said both will play this week, but he aims to ease them back into the game plan as backups to Darrius Coleman, who started against New Mexico and ran for 66 yards on 18 carries.
Jackson still questionable
It’s still unclear whether strong safety Levi Jackson will play after suffering a bone bruise on his leg against New Mexico that caused him to leave the game.
Mitchell said the injury has to do with pain tolerance, and he knows exactly what Jackson is going through.
During his pro career as a running back with the Arizona Cardinals, Mitchell said he dealt with the same injury in a game against the Seattle Seahawks. Needing only a handful of rushing yards to reach 100 for the game and trigger a bonus in his contract, Mitchell tried to play through it but couldn’t, having to leave the game early.
“There was absolutely no way I could play,” Mitchell said. “I know what Levi is going through.
“He’s a tough guy. If he can play he will play, but that’s not an easy injury.”
D’Mekus Cook filled in for Jackson against the Lobos and would be his likely replacement.
Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. matchup with Mississippi Valley State will be “EBR High School Show Your Colors!” night, when high school students from East Baton Rouge parish will receive free admission with a valid student ID and are encouraged to wear their school’s colors to the game. … The Southern University Football Alumni Association and WNXX-FM, 104.5 are giving away two all-access passes to the Atlanta or Bayou Classic. More details can be found on the association’s website at http://www.sufaa.org/fan