(The Daily Advertiser) – UL’s appeal to the NCAA to get another year of eligibility in 2017 for quarterback Anthony Jennings has been denied, Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said Sunday night.
The Cajuns earlier this month filed what is called an “extension of eligibility waiver” for Jennings, a former LSU starter who started as a graduate transfer for UL in 2016.
UL was trying to get a fifth year for Jennings, who had been hoping for it ever since deciding to transfer.
The basis of the appeal was that Jennings, who started for the Tigers as a true sophomore in 2014, played very sparingly for LSU as a true junior in 2015.
According to LSU statistics, he appeared in only two games that year and accumulated no rushing or passing stats.
Jennings only handed the ball off in late-game situations in that ’15 season, then – after graduating – moved on to UL for his fourth season.
The request was denied because it is standard NCAA rule that a football student-athlete has five years to play four and that, according to NCAA.org, “those who compete for any amount of time during a season use up one season in their sport.”
Jennings had no medical basis for an appeal, which sometimes is granted when a student-athlete competes sparingly early in a season but cannot complete the season due to injury or illness.
The NCAA’s decision wasn’t necessarily shocking, but it wasn’t easy for Hudspeth to hear either.
“I’m very disappointed for Anthony,” the Cajun coach told the Daily Advertiser via text message on Sunday night.
“I would’ve loved to have seen what he could’ve done with a year under his belt in our system.
“I wanted to wish him the best for the future and thank him for his time here as a Ragin’ Cajun,” Hudspeth added. “He has been a class act.”
Jennings did not join the Cajuns until one day before the opening of preseason camp last summer.
He finished the year 193-of-323 passing for 2,178 yards and 11 touchdowns with 13 interceptions, and ran for another nine touchdowns, while helping lead 6-7 UL to a New Orleans Bowl appearance that ended with a 28-21 loss to Southern Mississippi.
Without Jennings back, UL’s need to add a third quarterback to its 2017 signing class appears amplified.
The Cajuns return their top two reserves from last season, Jordan Davis and Dion Ray, but both have rather limited experience.
And with little-used walk-on reserve Gunner Hudspeth announcing last week that he was done playing due to a third ACL tear in the same knee – he appeared in just one game as a Cajun – UL has only other quarterback on its current roster, Jake Arceneaux.
Arceneaux was redshirted as a freshman last season.
Mark Hudspeth previously said that if Jennings’ waiver-request was denied that Davis and Ray would go into spring drills fighting for UL’s No. 1 job.
But they could face competition over the summer.
The Cajuns do currently have non-binding verbal commitments from two high school quarterbacks – Levi Lewis of Scotlandville Magnet High in Baton Rouge and Kadon Harrison of Memorial High in Port Arthur, Texas – to join the program on the NCAA’s Feb. 1 National Signing Day.
They’ve been actively pursuing a third QB to sign, and want one with experience.
Their top juco target is QB David Pindell, who paid a visit this past weekend to incoming Sun Belt Conference-member Coastal Carolina.
Late last week, Coastal announced the addition of ex-Syracuse quarterback Austin Wilson as a graduate transfer.
Pindell is expected to make a recruiting trip later this month to UL, which entertained about 10 recruits this past weekend and has two more visit weekends planned before signing day.
The Lackawanna (Pennsylvania) College product also has reported via Twitter offers from programs including Sun Belt-member Georgia Southern, which according to the Biloxi (Mississippi) Sun Herald lost its commitment from Live Oak, Florida, QB Steven Anderson to Southern Miss late last week; Kent State; and Maine, an FCS program.
Temple also has supposed interest in Pindell, who played his high school ball in Maryland.
On Sunday, The Commercial Appeal newspaper of Memphis reported that over te weekend Memphis picked up a commitment from LaAndre Thomas, a dual-threat QB from Wingfield High in Jackson, Mississippi, who reportedly had offers from several schools including UL and Southern Miss.