If the Florida State Seminoles are going to repeat as national champions this year, they will have to do it without the services of wide receiver Isaiah Jones.
The sophomore has been ruled academically ineligible, according to head coach Jimbo Fisher who spoke to Natalie Pierre of the Tallahassee Democrat:
Jimbo just made it official. WR Isaiah Jones is academically ineligible and unable to compete for the #Noles this season. Can still practice— Natalie Pierre (@Natalie_Pierre) August 16, 2014
Whispers of Jones' status for the 2014 season have been floating around for over one week. Fisher told Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel on August 8 that the school was going "to judge and see whether he can come out here."
As David Hale of ESPN.com noted on Twitter, Fisher hasn't been pumping up Jones the way he has other Seminole receivers over the summer, so this could be something the school has expected for some time:
Isaiah Jones always conspicuously absent from Jimbo's praise of WR. Doubt this affects his plans at the position at all.— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) August 16, 2014
Jones didn't have much of a role in Florida State's offense last year. The 6'4" wideout had just two catches for 31 yards , both coming in blowouts against Pittsburgh and Maryland, during the team's run to the BCS championship.
However, with Kelvin Benjamin's 15 touchdown catches and Kenny Shaw's 933 yards going to the NFL, there was a chance for Jones to take on an increased role in Florida State's offense. Considering Jameis Winston's status as the top quarterback in the country to start the season, the sophomore could have taken off in 2014.
The good news for Florida State is the team does have Rashad Greene, who led the Seminoles with 76 receptions and 1,128 yards in 2013, and tight end Nick O'Leary, who averaged 16.9 yards per catch, returning to help defend the national title.
Jones has ruined a golden opportunity for himself. He's got tremendous talent and at 6'4", 198 pounds, plenty of size to be a dominating force on the outside but won't be able to show it on the field this year.
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