Proving just how out of whack the NCAA can be in their priorities, Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount has been reinstated to the program and is expected to see his first game-action since his well-documented post-game meltdown againt Boise State
(Meanwhile, former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, who dined with Deion Sanders, and then lied about it to the NCAA, had his final suspension appeal denied and has unofficially declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft.)
Following Oregon's loss to Boise State, Blount infamously took a cheap shot at the Broncos' defensive end Byron Hout and had to be restrained by teammates, coaches and security on his way off the field. At times, he appeared to go after his own teammates, coaches and fans.
Blount was suspended for the season by head coach Chip Kelly a day later. Kelly said at the time that, "the suspension would remain in effect through any bowl games the Ducks may play in.''
Less than a month after Blount's September 3rd meltdown, Chip Kelly outlined a way in which the talented, but troubled back could return to the field for the Ducks. If Blount were to maintain certain academic and behavioral standards, there was a "potential opportunity" for Blount to be reinstated.
Prior the season, I listed Blount as one of six senior prospects capable of moving from a relative unknown all the way to the first round. The 6-1, 240 pound back broke school records and led the Pac-10 with 17 rushing touchdowns despite operating behind starter Jeremiah Johnson. His size and bullish running style had earned comparisons to the Giants' Brandon Jacobs. Assuming he stays out of trouble (and opponents will surely test him), Blount has the physical talent to recoup some of his draft prospects.
Blount returns for Pac-10 leading Oregon this weekend against Arizona State, who is coming off of a loss at home to USC. Though the scoreboard said differently, the Sun Devils were more impressive Saturday night than the Trojans, especially on the defensive side of the ball.