NORMAN — Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and wide receiver Trejan Bridges are suspended for the Sooners’ College Football Playoff game against No. 1 ranked LSU next week, according to a report Wednesday from SoonerScoop.com.
OU coach Lincoln Riley declined to comment, elaborate or clarify the suspensions during his news conference Wednesday for National Signing Day, but Riley said he was aware of the reports.
“I’m aware of the report that’s out there. Unfortunately at this time, I cannot comment on it,” Riley said.
Citing “multiple” unnamed sources, SoonerScoop reported the suspension on Twitter during Riley’s 30-minute press conference just before noon.
The Athletic, citing unnamed sources, later reported that the suspensions were for failed drug tests.
Later, after Riley confirmed that running back Kennedy Brooks — injured in the Sooners’ Big 12 championship game victory over Baylor — would play next Saturday against LSU, Riley was asked about Stevenson.
“Uh, Kennedy Brooks will play,” Riley said.
The reason for the suspensions is unconfirmed, and it’s unclear if there will be additional players punished. It’s also not known if the suspensions are for the entire game or just part of it, or whether they’ll carry over to the national championship game if Oklahoma beats LSU.
Riley was asked if he was declining comment because of an active appeals process, he replied, “Um, I don’t know if I want to even go that far right now. I will when I can, but I can’t right now.”
Riley added, “I don’t know that there’s an exact timetable that I know that I’ll be able to comment, but when I am, then I’ll know.”
Asked to further clarify the status of Perkins or Bridges, Riley said, “I’m not gonna comment any more.”
“We’ve had challenges all year,” Riley said later. “We’ve had challenges whether we lose a player to injury or new players, this or that. That’s part of how it goes. We’ll handle it the way we have and we’ll be ready to play.”
Stevenson ran for 515 yards and six touchdowns this year. The Sooners go into the playoff with two healthy scholarship running backs in Brooks, a junior, and sophomore T.J. Pledger.
Perkins leads the team with six quarterback sacks to go with 13.5 tackles for loss. His suspension likely would mean additional snaps for junior LaRon Stokes, redshirt freshman Jalen Redmond and true freshman Marcus Stripling.
Formerly co-host of “Further Review” and “The Franchise Drive,” columnist John E. Hoover is a college football insider on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover co-hosts The Franchise “Inside OU” Podcast with Brady Trantham and Rufus Alexander, and the Locked oN Sooners podcast on the Locked oN Podcast Network. He also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his YouTube channel at YouTube.com/c/JohnHoover, and his personal page at johnehoover.com.