Two LSU players released on bond, suspended

BATON ROUGE, La. — As Jordan Jefferson's teammates practiced Friday for a season opener a week away, the LSU quarterback was hiring a new lawyer to defend him against felony charges.

Jefferson and teammate Joshua Johns turned themselves in and were released on $5,000 bond each Friday after police obtained arrest warrants on charges of second-degree battery stemming from what police said were their roles in a fight Aug. 19 outside a Baton Rouge bar.

The players have been suspended indefinitely by the school.

"It's certainly a tough time for our team when they see a teammate in peril," coach Les Miles said, describing some players in tears when they gathered to talk about moving forward without their projected starting quarterback and reserve linebacker. "It's hard on them.

"This is not how I intended to spend my preseason. I wanted to spend it much more on football."

Two months ago, Jefferson was one of the featured counselors at the Manning family's football camp in south Louisiana, talking about maturity, leadership and his hope to lead LSU firmly into the national championship picture.

Jefferson is 20-7 as a starter, and he has a chance to challenge Tommy Hodson's LSU career record of 31 victories by a starting quarterback.

Jefferson had practiced for most of this week, hoping to be absolved in the melee last week that sent four to the hospital. All were treated and released within hours, but police chief Dewayne White has said one of the injured men had fractured vertebrae.

Johns also hired a new attorney.

A police report says a 19-year-old woman named Victoria Long said she witnessed several LSU players beating a man and saw Jefferson kick that man in the face. Two witnesses who work at the bar told the Associated Press the players did not throw the first punch but that once the melee began, it was difficult to see who hit whom. The witnesses, whom the Associated Press did not identify, said they could not verify the extent to which Jefferson and Johns were involved.

The two players will miss fourth-ranked LSU's season opener Sept. 3 against No. 3 Oregon in Arlington, Texas. They could miss more games than that.

With Jefferson suspended, fellow senior Jarrett Lee is slated to make his 10th career start against Oregon, with sophomore Zach Mettenberger, a junior college transfer, next in line.

NCAA VS. SHERIDAN: USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan, who has publicly said he has information on the "bag man" who purportedly paid Cam Newton's father to get his son to sign with Auburn, has been rebuked by the NCAA. The governing body, which rarely comments on ongoing investigations, issued a blistering statement after meeting with Sheridan: "Danny Sheridan continues to make vague, unsubstantiated claims without backing them up with proof. … (The) NCAA spoke with Sheridan this week to determine if he had any facts pertaining to the investigation. Sheridan, however, did not provide any information. … Instead, he unsuccessfully attempted to gather information for his own use."

IOWA DEAL: The Iowa Lottery is spending $248,000 to reach college fans this fall under an advertising partnership with the sports marketing arms of Iowa's three public universities, according to contracts released Friday. Iowa State and Northern Iowa have had longstanding sponsorship agreements with the Lottery, but this promotion marks the first time since 2007 that Iowa joined forces with the agency.

MICHIGAN STATE: Coach Mark Dantonio rejoined the No. 17 Spartans after leaving for about a day to be with his family this week. His father had a medical procedure in Zanesville, Ohio.

NOTRE DAME: The school launched a website, LiftUpRight.org, publicizing the hazards of aerial lifts, as part of its settlement with the state of Indiana over safety violations in the death of a student videographer at a football practice last year.

OKLAHOMA: The No. 1 team in the preseason AP poll created a decal that players will wear on their helmets to honor Austin Box, who died in May. An autopsy ruled that Box, a starting middle linebacker who would have been a senior this year, overdosed on painkillers.

TEXAS: Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin told the Longhorn Network that the team will decide soon on a starting quarterback among incumbent Garret Gilbert, sophomore Case McCoy, redshirt freshman Connor Wood and true freshman David Ash. The Longhorn Network was picked up be a few cable TV systems on the day of its launch.

TULSA: Damaris Johnson, the NCAA record holder in all-purpose yardage and kickoff return yards, was suspended. Johnson, a second-team All-American in 2010, has been questioned by police after his girlfriend's arrest on an embezzlement complaint. Johnson has led the nation in all-purpose yards each of the past two seasons. Tulsa police spokesman Leland Ashley said Chamon Jones, who works at a Macy's, is accused of selling more than $1,500 worth of merchandise to Johnson for just under $13 on one occasion. She also is accused of charging him 34 cents for merchandise totaling $1,283.

Two LSU players released on bond, suspended 08/27/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 12:25am]

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