- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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LSU running back Jeremy Hill got a reprieve from the legal system Monday when he didn’t have his probation revoked and avoided jail time.
His next reprieve could come from LSU coach Les Miles, who now has a clear opening to reinstate Hill to the team and is expected to address the subject following practice Monday evening.
Miles has been consistent in saying that he would allow the legal system to run its course before making any decision on Hill, who was caught on video punching a man outside a bar in April and then high-fiving and celebrating with another man.
Hill was already on probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 2012. Hill and another high school student were arrested and charged with engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old girl in the school’s locker room in 2010.
For some time now, the feeling in and around the LSU football program has been that Hill would be back with the team this season as long as the judge didn’t throw the book at him.
State District Judge Bonnie Jackson chided Hill in court Monday for his “arrogance,” but she didn’t exactly throw the book at him. Some would argue that she instead threw him an olive branch in terms of salvaging his LSU football career.
Either way, the most pressing question now is if Miles will suspend Hill for any games, and if so, how many.
The Tigers face No. 20 TCU right out of the gate, and even though they’re deep at running back, the 233-pound Hill offers the kind of power/speed mix that’s a game-changer.
He had a 50-yard touchdown run against South Carolina and a 47-yard touchdown run against Texas A&M, both in the fourth quarter, that solidified both of those wins last season.
From a pure talent standpoint, Hill is easily one of the premier backs in the league.
But when you survey some of the discipline problems LSU has faced with players over the past few years (and watch that video of Hill running up on the victim and cold-cocking him), it’s hard to imagine that Hill would or should skate without at least missing a game or two.
That’s a call Miles will have to make, and “The Hat” is a stickler for standing behind his players, which is a big reason they swear by him.
Assuming Hill does indeed get another chance, the onus is now on him to repay the entire LSU football community with his best season yet, and most importantly, to exhibit as much class off the field as he wreaks havoc on it.
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon