The good news: LSU’s class of 27 signees all reached academic qualification.
The bad news: The NCAA’s scholarship enrollment is capped at 25, meaning two of those names won’t be able to join on as planned.
“You get to a time where you anticipate that the signing class might have room,” said a dejected Les Miles on Wednesday afternoon. “At several points in time this year, I figured that to be the case.”
The final three names – Brad Wing, Ego Ferguson and Jakhari Gore - came back from the Clearinghouse within a week of the fall camp opener.
That offered Miles a short window of time to settle a pair of big moves, leaving him forced to hand out one – or two – greyshirt offers.
“The opportunity to offer a greyshirt to a guy is certainly not what I’ve done before, but I think the opportunity is a very good one,” said Miles, who went on to note the successes of former greyshirts Trindon Holliday and Harry Coleman. “It’s never about the first semester. It’s always about the body of work. I’m committed to these guys for a career, not just the first semester. Is it optimal? Absolutely not. But again, if someone gives that opportunity to one of my children, I’m going to be a happy guy.”
A student-athlete who accepts a greyshirt offer would be unable to enroll and compete with the team during the fall semester. He would be allowed to enroll part-time, but a full-time load couldn’t be carried until the following January.
Miles approached Shaw High’s Elliot Porter with a greyshirt offer on Monday evening. By Tuesday, Porter had asked for his release from LSU.
With options to return to Baton Rouge on a greyshirt or head elsewhere (Porter said he is considering Tennessee, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State), the freshman’s college status remains in limbo.
“I hope (Porter) stays,” Miles said. “We hope he accepts (a greyshirt).”
When asked about the second name that would come into play, Miles ended all conversation.
“I don’t know if that is something I am going to turn and give you,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s my responsibility to determine publically who is and who isn’t on scholarship.”
An option outside the greyshirt route would be for one of the 2010 signees to walk-on and pay their own way through school in the fall. If the player did not step on the field on Saturdays, he wouldn’t count against the 25 scholarships.
On Wednesday, Miles confirmed that the Tigers were exploring the option.
The lone name that won’t report for the start of camp on Thursday is punter Brad Wing, who returned to Australia to sort out details with travel documents. Miles did not give a date for his return to Baton Rouge.