Thursday, September 8, 2011
Shepard to return against West Virginia
By Edward Aschoff
LSU could be getting back one of its most dynamic offensive weapons for the fourth week of the season.
A source told the Associated Press that wide receiver Russell Shepard will be eligible to play at West Virginia on Sept. 24.
Shepard was suspended before LSU's opener against Oregon for breaking an NCAA rule when he discussed an ongoing investigation concerning the relationship scouting service provider Willie Lyles had with LSU and other schools.
While the Tigers dismantled Oregon without much of a passing game in Week 1, getting Shepard back is will be a major boost to the offense. For the Tigers to make it through the SEC they'll have to generate something more than what they showed through the air against the Ducks, which was 98 yards from Jarrett Lee.
Shepard is a player who can lineup at receiver and in the backfield. Last year, he caught 33 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown, while carrying the ball 32 times for 226 yards and two more scores. He might not have had eye-popping numbers, but he's a big-play threat. This spring his teammates and coaches raved about his improvements and he was very vocal about becoming one of the best receivers in the league.
This team showed it can run the ball very effectively and has a real weapon in tight end DeAngelo Peterson. If Rueben Randle can be targeted more and Shepard can play to his potential, LSU's offense actually becomes formidable.