Kristian Fulton was ranked as the top prospect in Louisiana in the 2016 college football recruiting class.
The five-star recruit received offers from 23 big-time schools, including Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC.
But the young cornerback from Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie decided to stay close to home.
On National Signing Day in 2016, Fulton made it official: He would be an LSU Tiger, following in the footsteps of great defensive backs like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
— ted jackson (@TedJacksonPhoto) February 3, 2016
The young corner appeared in two games as a freshman, but last year he inexplicably didn’t play a single snap for the Tigers.
Coach Ed Orgeron dodged questions about Fulton, saying his status was “up in the air.”
Now we know why the top recruit sat out the season.
Fulton is serving a two-year suspension imposed by the NCAA over a drug test in late 2016, his family’s attorney, Don Jackson, revealed to The Advocate of Baton Rouge on Sunday.
According to Jackson, Fulton was suspended for one calendar year for allegedly submitting a fraudulent sample and another year for failing the test; the NCAA considers a fraudulent sample to be a failed test.
“The NCAA suspending this young man for two full competitive seasons is unethical, and there are due process issues relative to the collection of the test specimen,” Jackson told The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger. “The decision in this case was ethically and legally incorrect.”
He said Fulton has “suffered the most serious sanction I’ve ever seen for a student-athlete who failed a drug test.”
Jackson said he will soon file a “reconsideration” with the NCAA to try to overturn the second year of the penalty based on “new evidence” regarding the handling of Fulton’s test sample.
“There were blatant violations of drug-testing protocol,” the attorney told Dellenger. “We’re attempting to request the decision be re-examined, and [for] him to immediately be declared eligible for 2018.”
If the “reconsideration” effort fails, they’ll appeal to the NCAA for a second time, Jackson said. LSU coordinated a first round of appeals that was denied early last year, according to the report.
Fulton’s father, Keith, said his son has been drug tested more than two dozen times since the 2016 test, and has passed each time.
The Advocate said LSU and the NCAA declined to comment on Fulton’s status.
The Tigers are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst when it comes to the reinstatement effort.
Orgeron and his staff are moving wide receiver Mannie Netherly and safety signee Kelvin Joseph to corner to bolster their thin depth at the position, according to The Advocate.
Fulton was at LSU’s first spring practice Sunday, running through drills and catching the eye of the fans who turned out.
They can only hope they won’t have to wait until 2019 to see him take the field in an actual game at Tiger Stadium.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.