Nine Southern University football players including several
starters will not be with the program this fall, coach Pete Richardson said.
Linebacker D.J. Brooks, defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas,
offensive guard Adrian Banks, defensive end Jimmy Hollins and tight end Joshua
Nixon are academically ineligible, Richardson said on Monday.
In addition, defensive tackle Alston Smith, a transfer from
Temple, and defensive end Jowelle Bullock have left the program to go
elsewhere, though Richardson said he was unsure where.
Last month, Richardson said running back Larry Nichols and
cornerback Marcus Wilkerson were academically ineligible.
Losing so many key players on defense Brooks and Thomas were
starters and Smith expected to add depth to the interior of the defensive line
hits an area that was considered a strength in spring practices.
“It hurts the depth, which is going to be crucial the
first two or three games,” Richardson said.
Southern will be on the road for its first two games,
against Florida A&M in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 1 and against Mississippi
Valley State on Sept. 8 in Chicago.
“You have to be concerned when you have guys who just
didn’t perform academically and you were counting on them, at least for added
depth. The first part of the year, because of the weather factor, it’s going to
be crucial conditioning-wise,” Richardson said.
Brooks was second on the team in tackles in both 2006 (64)
and 2005 (63). Thomas, a former North Carolina transfer, had 37 tackles and one
sack last season. Wilkerson had 32 tackles and two interceptions.
Nichols entered last season as the team’s No. 1 running back
but rushed for only 51 yards and no touchdowns.
Banks, a starter as a freshman and a sophomore, had missed
much of spring practice after injuring a knee and having surgery.
– Associated Press
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