John Hoover

Reports: Sooners go into CFP dealing with three suspensions; Lincoln Riley declines comment (UPDATED)

Reports: Sooners go into CFP dealing with three suspensions; Lincoln Riley declines comment (UPDATED)

Head Coach Lincoln Riley during the Big12 Championship game. Aaron Davis/The Franchise

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.

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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.

John Hoover
@JohnEHoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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