More on Thursday’s IU football roster moves

The story for tomorrow’s paper.

Indiana announced on the first day of preseason practice that it dismissed one scholarship wide receiver, lost another to transfer, and suspended a third for a game. It also suspended two potential starting defensive backs for a game.

Jay McCants, a 6-foot-4, 209-pound sophomore who caught six passes for 54 yards last season as a true freshman was dismissed for an unspecified version of team rules. Logan Young, a 6-foot-3 redshirt sophomore from Muncie, left the program more than a month ago and transferred to Indianapolis. Junior Kofi Hughes, the team’s leading receiver a year ago, was suspended for one game, also for an unspecified violation of team rules. Cornerback Lawrence Barnett and safety Forisse “Flo” Hardin were also suspended for one game, also for unspecified rules violations.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson was asked about the suspensions at the team’s media day on Thursday night but would not disclose the nature of the rules violations.

“We have things we stand for and believe in,” Wilson said. “Those things are extremely explicit, articulated, known, communicated. You’re addressed if there’s an issue that you know things need to change and be careful of what you’re doing. There’s communication with families. … Bottom line, we’re not going to have kids back us into a corner where, I’m not going to stand up in front of my team and say we’re going to do certain things. If a guy does things we don’t do, I’m not going to handle it, I just do it.”

Wilson was asked what the difference was between a rules violation that would lead to a one-game suspension and one that would lead to a dismissal, as was the case with McCants.

“If you get to a point where you’ve been told that you’re next major concern is your last,” Wilson said. “…It’s not about being perfect, but it’s about choices and attempting to do things the right way. You’re going to understand what we believe is the right way to be a Big Ten football player and be a part of Indiana University.”

As current members of the team, Hughes, Barnett and Hardin were not made available for comment. McCants had little to say to say when contacted.

“It was coach’s decision,” McCants said. “He said I broke some team rules. I really don’t have much of a comment other than that. I need to talk more to my parents about the whole situation. I don’t really have anything to say and I don’t want to say anything to put the team down.”

McCants did clarify that statement by saying that he was told he broke multiple team rules, but that there was not a singular incident that led to his dismissal. He said there was some disagreement between he and Wilson about the rules violations.

McCants is the second player to be outrightly dismissed in coach Kevin Wilson’s two years, joining fellow wide receiver Damarlo Belcher. Belcher was dismissed last season for unspecified rules violations and later admitted that he had failed a drug test.

Hughes was one of the team’s brightest spots last season with 35 receptions for 536 yards and three touchdowns. The former Cathedral quarterback also lined up as a tailback and as a wildcat quarterback, rushing for 162 yards on 27 carries. Cornerback Lawrence Barnett recorded 46 tackles last season and broke up six passes while starting nine of the team’s 12 games at cornerback. Hardin recorded 17 tackles as a true freshman last season.

Young saw limited action in two seasons with the Hoosiers and did not catch a pass last season. The Class 4A All-State pick at Delta graduated as the No. 5 leading receiver in IHSAA history with 3,100 yards.

“I still have a lot of friends on the team and I don’t want to get into a big, long story about it,” Young said. “But I just wasn’t enjoying it any more. I wanted to go some place where I might enjoy it again.”

At Indianapolis, Young will play for wide receivers coach Kevin Lynch. Lynch’s father Bill was Indiana’s head coach before Kevin Wilson and recruited Young to Indiana. The younger Lynch was a graduate assistant at Indiana when Young was a true freshman.

Indiana also announced that tailback Matt Perez (back), Paul Phillips (ankle), linebacker Ishmael Thomas (shoulder) and tight end Jordan Jackson (knee) would not attend preseason camp because of injuries. They will continue rehabbing those injuries and will return to the team when the roster expands from the 105 alotted for preseason camp at the beginning of the fall semester.

Incoming freshmen defensive end Adam Kranda will not report for camp either because of an unspecified personal matter.

“Adam is dealing with a private matter,” Wilson said in a release. “It is our intention to work with him to have him here in the near future. Adam has a bright future and will be a valuable piece on our defensive line.”

One comment

  1. News flash to young men: There are consequences for breaking the rules. Whether they are the rules of society (the law), an employer (company policies), or a college football team (team rules). If you break the rules you will eventually get caught and you will be punished. Those people who have, in the past, ignored your rule-breaking and chose not to hold you accountable for your mistakes and/or bad decisions were not doing you any favors; they were, at best, simply enabling you to continue inappropriate, dangerous or self destructive behavior and, at worst, were doing you a great disservice by delaying your realization that inevitably, there will be consequences for your bad decisions. Eventually we all grow up and have to function in the real world, where the cost of breaking the rules increases significantly.

    No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and most people (including most good leaders) believe in second chances, especially for young people who are prone to stupid mistakes. But Mr McCants, we all have a line, that if crossed, means we’re going to hurt ourselves and those that love us. Welcome to the real world young man. I hope you get a second chance to play college football. And I recommend that before you do, you spend some significant time reflecting on your actions/decisions that violated the team rules, and consider how they have affected your life, your family, your friends and teammates that depended on you and your future. If you perform that introspection honestly, I think you may eventually conclude that, while getting kicked off the team is painful in the short term, Coach Wilson has done you a favor in the long term by reinforcing the key universal principle that if you break the rules, you will suffer the consequences. Mr. McCants, if you learn from this experience, I believe you will be better off in the future. If you fail to learn from this experience, then you will have justified Coach Wilson’s decision to dismiss you from the team and you will continue to suffer more severe consequences for your mistakes. You see, the older you get, the less tolerance society has for bad decisions and the consequences for breaking the rules become far more severe. Good luck to you, young man. I wish you well.

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