Source: USA TODAY
METAIRIE, La. — Controversy continues to tag along with the LSU football program’s greatest accomplishments.
The Tigers’ greatest pre-bowl season in history – 13-0 with a Southeastern Conference championship in 2011 – began with a bar fight involving hordes of players that August and landed starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson in jail and suspended for four games. At mid-season, three other players were suspended for a game for multiple failed drug tests.
Entering the 2012 season, LSU was considered a strong contender to return to the BCS national championship game as it returned most of its 13-1 team from the previous season. But on Aug. 10, Heisman Trophy finalist cornerback/kick returner Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team for multiple failed drug tests, and the Tigers finished 10-3.
And during this, the greatest NFL Draft in LSU history, two player arrests have tarnished a record breaking weekend. On Thursday night after defensive end Barkevious Mingo and safety Eric Reid were selected in the first round, junior cornerback Tharold Simon of Eunice spent the night in jail after being arrested on charges of public intimidation of a police officer, resisting an officer, a noise violation and obstruction of a roadway. Simon was still drafted in the fifth round Saturday.
LSU entered draft day Saturday with the most selection from any school through the first three rounds with six. All six were defensive players – the most on that side of the ball from one school through the first three rounds of the draft in NFL history.
Then on Saturday afternoon as LSU was breaking its school record of eight players taken in a single draft, news broke that Baton Rouge Police had arrested and jailed LSU freshman tailback Jeremy Hill early Saturday morning on a misdemeanor charge of simple battery after an incident at a bar near the LSU campus. Hill, 20, was released on $500 bond Saturday.
Hill now could be in violation of his probation stemming from a guilty plea to a previous misdemeanor arrest while he was at Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge for carnal knowledge of a juvenile. That arrest delayed Hill from joining the LSU program until January of 2012. His last season of high school ball was in 2010.
LSU coach Les Miles has been in New York City all weekend serving as an analyst on the NFL Draft and sharing time with Mingo and Reid, who were invited to the draft by the NFL as expected first rounders. Miles does not plan to comment on the arrest of Hill until he returns to Baton Rouge and has a chance to speak to Hill, said LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette, who accompanied Miles to New York.
Hill was one of the top running backs in the nation coming out of Redemptorist in 2010. He quickly became LSU’s starting tailback last season and ended up leading the team in rushing with 755 yards on 142 carries. His 12 touchdowns were the most by an LSU freshman since Dalton Hilliard had 11 in 1982.
Glenn Guilbeau writes for Gannett Louisiana.