Troy took a hit today as starting defensive tackle John Clark was ruled academically ineligible, the school announced. Interesting quotes from coach Larry Blakeney on the issue.
This leaves Troy with the following defensive tackles: returning senior Kyle Lucas, returning juniors Aaron Williams & Shermane TeArt, redshirt freshman D.J. Johnson and junior college transfers Xavier Melton and Derrek Upshaw.
Clark, a junior from Oxford, has used a redshirt season but can remain with the school and team and come back next season. He had nine tackles last year.
Clark is not enrolled in school this fall. He had been practicing up until recently. Classes started on Wednesday. Coaches had been aware of the possibility of Clark being deemed ineligible.
“We have failed one of the best young men we have ever had in this program. John was actually eligible according to NCAA standards, but failed to accomplish a school standard grade-point-average which automatically rendered him ineligible.
“We all have to share the blame for this young man not succeeding. John was not an abuser of the system. He went to class, he worked hard in the classroom and took full advantage of the resources afforded to him at Troy. John Clark did everything asked of him, and I am sick about this. He will be afforded the opportunity to come back to school and play next year.
“John has also worked hard to play this game at the college level and was tabbed to be a starter or in the rotation on the defensive line. We must learn from this tragedy and continue to invest in all levels of academic support for all students.”