Louisiana Tech had a balanced receiving corp where six different players caught at least 26 passes last season. The eligibility of four of those players expired following the 2013 season, but the program learned on Monday that another would return for his sixth year.
Sterling Griffin, who led the Bulldogs with 357 receiving yards last season, has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. Griffin, a South Florida transfer, has battled injuries his entire collegiate career.
“Sterling is what the sixth year rule is made for,” head coach Skip Holtz said in a release. “This wasn’t something we were worried about as long as the NCAA looked at it with the doctor’s notes and the surgery notes, and it was well documented what was there. Any time you are dealing with it, it is always nice to have that final word. So, it was great when we got the call that Sterling has been approved for his sixth year and we are going to need him because right now it is going to be one of the staples on our offense on the perimeter.”
Griffin played under Holtz at South Florida and sat out the entire 2010 season with an ankle injury and missed the majority of the 2012 season for the Bulls due to a torn ACL. After he graduated from USF, Griffin then transferred to Louisiana Tech to finish his playing career under Holtz.
In his first season with the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-1, 189-pound Griffin started 10 games, was second on the team with 33 receptions and was tied for the team lead with two others with two touchdown catches. In parts of three seasons at South Florida, Griffin, a former three-star recruit in the class of 2009, caught 59 passes for 838 yards and six scores.
“I think the NCAA is very fair with this and I think it is a great rule,” Holtz said. “It is in place for a purpose for a young man with two season-ending injuries and is only allowed to play three years of college football, this grants him his fourth year to actually get on the field and play. I think it is a great rule. We had talked and were not even going to worry about it, not going to stress about it. This was done the day we sent it in but it is nice to have that final confirmation.”
Griffin and sophomore Trent Taylor (28 catches, 260 yards and two TDs) figure to be the top two receivers for the Bulldogs going into the season.
Holtz has not yet determined who will be the team’s starting quarterback when the season opens with a tough road matchup against Oklahoma, but the competition is down to senior Iowa transfer Cody Sokol and sophomore Ryan Higgins. Higgins threw for 1,715 yards, six touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season.
The Bulldogs went 4-8 in 2013.
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