The status of a handful of LSU football players remains uncertain as the Tigers begin Southeastern Conference play at Mississippi State on Saturday night.
Defensive end Frank Herron is not available, the coach said Thursday night, and will not make the trip to Starkville, Mississippi. Cornerback Kristian Fulton and tight end Caleb Roddy are also unavailable, the coach said. Teams can travel 70 players to SEC road games.
Those three, along with edge rusher Sci Martin and receiver Dee Anderson, did not dress out for the home opener against UT-Chattanooga and did not travel with the team to the season opener on Sept. 2 against BYU in New Orleans. All five players have been in and out of practice over the last six weeks and a few of them, like Anderson, have missed long stretches of drills.
Anderson suffered an injury, Orgeron has said in the past, but the status of the other four could be disciplinary or eligibility in nature. Orgeron said last month that he would not announce suspensions, a new policy he's instituting. Coach Les Miles also did not announce suspensions.
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Suspensions were likely behind many of the absentees in New Orleans. At least 13 scholarship players did not make the trip for the BYU game. Eight of them returned last week. All but one of those players, QB Justin McMillan, played in the 45-10 win over Chattanooga.
The aforementioned five remain out. Herron's absence is the most significant of the group.
The fifth-year senior graduated over the summer, likely ruling out any academic issues. The coach has described his absence as not being "cleared," a potential off-the-field eligibility issue.
Orgeron raved about Herron for much of preseason camp and deemed him a "co-starter" with Christian LaCouture. LSU's line could use him. The Tigers are without defensive end Rashard Lawrence this week, as Lawrence recovers from an ankle injury he suffered in the opener against BYU.
Orgeron said Thursday that Lawrence "will not play" in the game.
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Roddy played the most last season among the other four. He served as LSU's No. 2/3 tight end as a true freshman, a role that's been occupied through two games by Jacory Washington and Jamal Pettigrew. Fulton played in just three games last season as a rookie and was expected to challenge for a rotational role at the cornerback position this year.
Martin, a sophomore from New Orleans, ran as the No. 3/4 Buck outside linebacker during spring before suffering a knee injury that knocked him out of drills completely. Anderson, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Texas, was one of just four returning receivers to have caught a pass last season.