Chattanooga won't have its all-conference quarterback when it visits LSU on Sept. 9 for the Tigers' home opener.
Senior All-Southern Conference quarterback Alejandro Bennifield will miss the first four games of the season because of NCAA academic issues, the Times Free Press in Chattanooga reported Friday.
The Mocs, ranked No. 12 in the STATS Football Championship Subdivision preseason top 25, open the season at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 6 Jacksonville State in Montgomery, Alabama.
Sophomore Nick Tiano will start in place of Bennifield, with freshman Cole Copeland serving as the No. 2 and redshirt freshman Dominic Caldwell the No. 3.
"Alejandro's final appeal was denied," senior associate athletic director Jay Blackman told the Times Free Press. "We went through a series of attempts of getting a waiver, but the final attempt was denied Thursday night."
Bennifield, a team captain, in 2016 threw for 2,622 yards and 26 touchdowns, tied for the second-most in school history. He rushed for 377 yards and six more scores, earning second-team all-SoCon honors. He is still on track to graduate in December.
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LSU junior center Will Clapp has some familiar company on the practice field after the addition of his younger brother, Matt, to the roster a week and a half ago.
Matt Clapp, a fullback, was set to join the team as a walk-on when classes started Monday, but the timetable was pushed up when a player left the program.
“It’s been really cool having my little brother out there and seeing him hang out with the guys,” Will Clapp said. “When we were in high school (at Brother Martin in New Orleans), I was a senior and he was a freshman. We really weren’t the same age or were in the same age groups hanging out. Now it feels like we’re closer together. We’re both in college hanging out. It’s really fun being a teammate with my brother instead of just a little kid I messed around with at home.”
Will Clapp said he’s especially happy for his dad, former LSU defensive lineman Tommy Clapp, to have two sons following in his footsteps.
“I think it’s really cool for him. I know he really enjoys it when he gets to see me out there on the field,” Will Clapp said. “But having me and Matt out there at the same time, that’s just something not many people get to experience.”
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