Most of the media was both perplexed and upset at talkative LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard's absence from SEC media days after he was previously scheduled to participate.
But Friday's news of a possible compliance issue with Shepard might have been the reason. A source told ESPN's Joe Schad that Sheppard is dealing with an NCAA compliance concern related to rent payment arrangements with a woman who he has lived with and who is also a student worker in LSU's football office.
When asked about Shepard's absence Friday, LSU coach Les Miles said "there were some things that Russell had to take care of back in Baton Rouge." Senior offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert replaced Shepard in LSU's lineup.
Miles was pressed about Shepard's situation, but didn't provide many answers when asked if there was a compliance issue with Shepard.
"I don't know exactly the specifics of that," Miles said. "The only thing I can tell you is this was an issue where there were some things that he had to handle in his personal life that needed an immediate resolution, so ... that's why he's not with us."
According to Schad's report, LSU is hoping Shepard will be available for the season opener against Oregon.
Losing Shepard would be a big blow to LSU's offense. Shepard hauled in 33 catches for just 254 yards, but he boasted this spring that he's expecting a big year on the field this fall.
Shepard is one of LSU's top athletes and can line up at multiple positions on offense, both inside and outside of the backfield. When talking with quarterback Jordan Jefferson in Hoover, Ala., he said he's most excited for the pass-friendly nature of LSU's new offense that is now under the supervision of Steve Kragthorpe. Jefferson said Shepard has become a more dangerous target for the Tigers because of his versatility in Kragthorpe's scheme.
Jefferson said he expects Shepard to be one of his top targets this fall and that he should be used in a lot more ways. Last year, he also carried the ball 32 times for 223 yards and had two touchdowns.
Shepard really impressed his teammates and coaches this spring, and the thought in Baton Rouge is that Shepard should flourish in Kragthorope's offense and will be leaned on even more this fall.