Sources: Dismissed LSU QB Perrilloux failed drug test

Updated: May 5, 2008, 5:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Ryan Perrilloux seemed like a perfect fit for LSU.

The Louisiana native had the rocket arm, mobility and versatility to make him a constant big-play threat and one of the most sought-after quarterback prospects in the country coming out of high school. He even had the French last name.

His lack of discipline off the field, however, became an increasing distraction for head coach Les Miles, who finally decided Perrilloux's presence on the roster was more trouble than it was worth. Perrilloux tested positive on a drug test, leading Miles to dismiss him on Friday morning, two sources close to the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad.

A person close to Perrilloux said he hopes to transfer to a member of the former Division I-AA, where he could have two seasons of eligibility left. Perrilloux is strongly considering these three schools: Alabama A&M, Valdosta State and Jackson State.

Perrilloux was kicked off the defending national championship team after a college career marked by legal and disciplinary problems.

Perrilloux "didn't fulfill his obligation as an LSU student-athlete," Miles said in a statement. "Ryan was given every opportunity to be a part of this football team."

Still, it was clear Perrilloux's repeated breaking of team rules, and sometimes the law, made Miles worry whether it was worth keeping the talented heir-apparent to the starting job and risk another off-the-field distraction next season.

What's Next For LSU?

Now that Ryan Perrilloux's never-ending troubles are once and for all in LSU's rear-view mirror, the next question becomes: What will the Tigers' offense look like next fall?

For starters, whoever wins the starting quarterback job will be taking his first meaningful snaps at LSU. Redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee will likely get first crack at the job. He and junior Andrew Hatch, who played on the Harvard freshman team before transferring to LSU, split reps in the spring while Perrilloux was suspended.

Lee has the stronger arm, whereas Hatch is a better runner. The real problem for the Tigers, though, is what happens if either QB is injured. Remember, Perrilloux filled in for the injured Matt Flynn last season in the SEC championship game win over Tennessee.

The good news for the Tigers is that nobody on the team should be shocked when preseason practice resumes in August. Lee and Hatch took all of the snaps in the spring, and senior center Brett Helms said then that they were preparing as if one of those two guys would be the quarterback in the fall.

Look for LSU to lean even harder on its offensive line. Four of the five starters from last season are back, and several other promising younger players are pushing for time.

"We've got to be leaders up front and lead by example," Helms said. "It's going to be a lot of hard work, leading by example, and hopefully we can get everybody to come along with us. But that's where it all starts, up front."

In short, don't look for LSU to make as many plays at the quarterback position now that Perrilloux is gone. But any hint of a distraction is also gone ... for good.

-- Chris Low

The timing of Miles' decision gives Perrilloux a chance to transfer to a lower-division program by next fall. It also allows the team to go into the summer without any lingering questions over whether Perrilloux, who was suspended during spring drills for missing team meetings and classes, would rejoin them when practice resumed in August and behave like a leader thereafter.

A backup to Matt Flynn last season, Perrilloux showed glimpses of great promise, drilling receivers downfield or punishing tacklers while running the option.

He played sparingly in LSU's victory over Ohio State for the national title. But the starting job for this coming season appeared to be his, provided he could avoid trouble off the field.

Perrilloux's lawyer, Nathan Fisher, declined to comment Friday. Reached at her home in LaPlace, Perrilloux's mother, Bobbie Breaux, said she and her son preferred not to discuss the matter publicly at this time but may do so later.

The quarterback is expected to finish the spring semester, LSU officials said. He must do so to remain eligible to play next season if he transfers.

Perrilloux was suspended last summer and during recent spring drills. He was on the fringe of a counterfeiting investigation and was caught trying to enter a Baton Rouge casino with false identification. He also was involved in a nightclub fight in November, causing him to miss a game at Alabama. He was cleared of wrongdoing.

Miles again suspended Perrilloux, whose father died Feb. 7, in mid-February after he missed a team meeting, skipped some classes and was late for conditioning workouts.

Perrilloux had to meet academic requirements and do extra conditioning before he was reinstated April 6, in time to go with the Tigers to meet President Bush at the White House. Perrilloux was not allowed to play in LSU's spring game.

During the spring, redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee and junior Andrew Hatch, a transfer from Harvard, split time as the quarterback of the Tigers and now will enter next season as the leading candidates for the starting job.

Appearing in 12 of LSU's 14 games last season with two starts, Perrilloux completed 51 of 75 passes (68 percent) for 694 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Perrilloux also rushed 50 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

Perrilloux's second start came in the SEC championship game, when Flynn was too hurt to play. Perrilloux completed 20 of 30 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 victory.

Perrilloux was widely considered the nation's most coveted quarterback recruit when he played at East St. John High School in Louisiana.

His former coach at East St. John, Larry Dauterive, said he had not heard from his former player but had taken more than a dozen calls from Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) programs hoping to land Perrilloux as a transfer.

"I want to see him surface. I want to see him get on the field because he's such a talented athlete," Dauterive said. "I've been doing this 39 years and I've never seen anybody do with a football what he can do. I don't know if his priorities are screwed up or what. He's the best athlete I've ever been around -- ever."

Dauterive said he never had a problem with Perrilloux and is "flabbergasted" by the troubles he's had in college.

"He's a phenom," Dauterive said. "And to throw that away, it's mind-boggling to me. I just hope he comes to his senses."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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