Ed Orgeron: Michael Divinity not eligible until the national championship game
3 months ago The Advocate 0
The national championship game is the earliest LSU linebacker Michael Divinity could play again, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday morning.
The update clarified just when LSU could possibly regain its sack leader, who returned Monday after leaving the team for two weeks “to focus on a personal matter.”
Part of the matter centers on Divinity’s eligibility, and although Orgeron didn’t disclose the full details of Divinity’s circumstance, the head coach said the senior will not be able to play unless LSU reaches the national championship game.
“Maybe he will be eligible for that,” Orgeron said on the Southeastern Conference coach’s teleconference. “Up until then, Mike will not be eligible to play.”
This means LSU will have to play without Divinity in its final two regular season games against Arkansas and Texas A&M, a potential SEC championship against Georgia, plus any semifinal game in the College Football Playoff.
If the 6-foot-2, 241-pound Divinity eventually returns, he will have missed nine total games in the 2019 season.
Divinity missed two of LSU’s first three games because of what Orgeron called “coach’s decisions” — an intentionally vague phrase that Orgeron uses to keep the particulars of such dealings in-house.
Divinity did not play against Utah State, and he announced he was leaving the team on Nov. 4, five days before LSU’s No. 2-vs.-No. 3 showdown against Alabama.
Junior outside linebacker Ray Thornton replaced Divinity against the Crimson Tide, and he recovered a crucial fumble near the LSU goal line that produced the Tigers’ first touchdown in a 46-41 win that vaulted the program to No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Orgeron has said Thornton and junior Andre Anthony are most ready to play in place of Divinity, who had three sacks and four tackles for loss. Junior college transfer Soni Fonua and true freshmen Desmond Little and Ray Parker are also available.
Divinity was a key pass rusher in defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s pass rush packages, which use more linebackers than defensive linemen, and sophomore Damone Clark has also had experience in such packages.
LSU players have said Divinity’s presence and leadership can still impact the team, even if he doesn’t play again.
“Mike’s a smart football player,” senior defensive end Breiden Fehoko said Monday. “He knows different things out there. He’s able to call out plays. … He’s really like another coach out there for the outside linebackers.”