John Battle's college career has been extended.
Battle, a Florida native and expected starter at safety for LSU in 2017, received an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA to make up for his injury-shortened freshman season of 2014, team spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed Tuesday.
Battle has been reclassified as a redshirt junior; this was supposed to be his senior year. Battle played in only one game — Game 2 against Sam Houston State — in 2014. He received a medical hardship for that season, the school confirmed. A player can receive a redshirt for medical reasons if he was injured in the first half of the season and only participated in one-third of his team's games.
Reporters on Tuesday broke the news to coach Ed Orgeron after he spoke to high school coaches at the LHSAA coaches clinic.
"First I heard of it. That’s great," Orgeron said. "You guys get the news before me. ... I knew our guys had been working on it, and I didn’t know his results."
Battle is expected to begin the season as a starter for the first time in his three years in Baton Rouge. He missed the spring game with a hip injury that doctors operated on over the offseason, but Orgeron said Tuesday that he "should be" ready for the start of camp on July 31.
Battle replaced injured starter Rickey Jefferson as a starter during the last half of 2016, excelling in the role. His eligibility in 2018 is significant. The Tigers brought in a host of young safeties this year, several of whom may need grooming. They also will lose senior Ed Paris, who's expected to start opposite Battle.
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