While just a week ago Rutgers Scarlet Knights linebacker LJ Liston was on the cusp of becoming a starter, he is now no longer a part of the program after being dismissed from the team, head coach Kyle Flood announced Friday. Liston was set to enter spring practices in a heated battle for the starting gig, but violated an unknown team rule, and will miss out on his chance to start.
“L.J. is no longer a member of the Rutgers football program,” Flood said in a statement released by the university Friday afternoon. “He’s currently exploring other options for his career as a student-athlete. We wish him well.”
Liston had a checkered past filled with run ins, including a suspension for failing to meet academic standards, and missed practices due to failing the condition test. Whatever the most recent violation was, it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that it was Liston’s last straw with the program.
In the meanwhile, coach Flood will turn to either Kaiwan Lewis, a South Carolina transfer, or Isaiah Johnson, a junior college transfer. Both players are strong options within the linebacking core, but may not bring the same talent as Liston. Still, if you’re not able to stay in the good graces of your coaching staff, little mistakes can have major consequences and that’s exactly the case for LJ Liston.
Nonetheless, the show must go on and Rutgers will hold their first spring practice on March 24 in hopes of building on their strong 2014 campaign.
*Section Photo credit to Wesley Hitt, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit toEd Mulholland, USA Today Sports