LSU announced Thursday that wide receiver Russell Shepard will regain his eligibility in time to play for the Tigers in their game at West Virginia on Sept. 24.
Shepard, a junior from Houston, was declared indefinitely ineligible last month after LSU and the NCAA determined he violated an NCAA regulation. He was cleared in a compliance issue related to his housing situation but ran afoul of the NCAA by speaking to an unidentified teammate about that teammate’s pending interview with NCAA investigators.
Shepard played in all 13 games last season, starting nine, and finished second on the team with 33 catches for 254 yards and one touchdown. He and top receiver Rueben Randle are the only receivers with significant experience entering this season.
The absence of Shepard created additional opportunities for sophomore Kadron Boone and true freshman Odell Beckham, but the Tigers receivers struggled during the season-opening 40-27 victory against Oregon on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
Randle was slowed by a sore knee and caught just one pass, though it was an important one - a 10-yard touchdown from Jarrett Lee that put LSU ahead for good late in the second quarter.
Beckham had the most catches among the receivers with two for 10 yards, and he made a diving catch of what would have been a 36-yard gain if it had not been negated by a holding penalty. The only other reception by a receiver was a 3-yarder by true freshman Jarvis Landry as the Tigers dropped a few passes.
LSU’s leading receiver last week was tight end Deangelo Peterson, who had four catches for 62 yards.
Coach Les Miles said he expects to open up the passing game in the home opener against Northwestern State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. LSU had just 10 pass completions for 98 yards against the Ducks.
The Tigers will be without Shepard for the Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State on Thursday as he completes what will wind up being a three-game suspension.
LSU applied to the NCAA for Shepard’s reinstatement immediately upon him being declared ineligible a week and a half before the season opener.