Posted by Adam Jacobi
No. 3 LSU has caught a major break in the August assault case that has kept QB Jordan Jefferson and LB Josh Johns off the field for the first three weeks, as it appears there may not be sufficient evidence linking the two players to the fight. Jefferson and Johns have both been suspended indefinitely since August 26, when both were charged with second degree felonies for their alleged roles in a bar fight that left two men hospitalized.
LSU RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau has reported that the DNA tests on Jefferson's shoes have been ruled inconclusive by East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore, as have the tests on Johns' shoes. This development isn't quite the same as a full-on exoneration, but it is enough for Jefferson's attorney Lewis Unglesby to declare that Jefferson never should have been arrested in the first place.
Since the assault case is before a grand jury, it's up to that grand jury to decide whether to drop the charges or formally press them, according to Moore. Moore expects the grand jury to meet at least a second time, according to Guilbeau, and does not expect a decision to be made by Wednesday. To that end, it's probably unlikely that Jefferson will be cleared to participate in LSU's game at No. 16 West Virginia this Saturday.
Fortunately for LSU, even if Jefferson were exonerated immediately and allowed to participate in Saturday's contest, there's hardly a guarantee that he would be asked to start, as senior Jarrett Lee has been outstanding in his triumphant return to the starting role at quarterback. In his first three games (including a Dallas game against then-No. 3 Oregon and a road date with then-No. 25 Mississippi State), Lee has thrown for 444 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception in 40-59 passing. Better yet, the Tigers are 3-0 and rolling.
So even as Jefferson had started 27 of his last 28 games before his suspension, and had been considered a lock at starting quarterback before the August 19 assault that Jefferson was allegedly involved in took place, the play of Lee has made Jefferson's return more of a nice bonus than a coming of the cavalry. It will be interesting to see, though, just how long Lee's allowed to stay in a game once Jefferson comes back if the Tigers' passing game starts struggling again.