The Florida State Seminoles just got a little thinner at running back. Jimbo Fisher has announced that redshirt freshman, Mario Pender, has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2013 season.
Pender had some offseason issues with academics. In fact he missed some practices because of it. Then, because stuff I guess, he was again ruled eligible. Now — just days before the first game — Florida State will be without his services.
Reportedly, Pender is exactly one good grade short of being eligible to play this season. Too bad this isn’t horseshoes and hand grenades.
All this means for Florida State is James Wilder Jr. as well as Devonta Freeman will get more carries. Being without Pender’s speed is certainly a loss, but nothing that should set the program back from whatever amount of games they were going to win this season anyway.
For Mario Pender, however, this was supposed to be a (semi) breakout season for him. Because he was redshirted last season, this season of being academically ineligible will cost him a season of eligibility. Basically, Pender is going to be a redshirt sophomore next season — without ever actually playing a season of college football.
If anything, at least in the short-term, expect Ryan Green to be a solid third option at running back. I am not entirely sure Fisher plans on going three-deep often, but it isn’t a horrible thing to have someone like Green as your third back.
This may end up being an important ruling. I mean, other than alter the rotation of running backs just a few days prior to kick. It puts Pender in a situation where he really needs to get his stuff together. Often, unfortunately, situations like this result in a player transferring. I am not saying that is what Pender is going to do, although, it is now unlikely he will be getting the benefit of the doubt from Fisher for the rest of his Florida State career.
Me, Twitter @JosephNardone