LSU head coach Ed Orgeron turned heads on Tuesday when he said that most of his team has tested positive for COVID-19. He said that he did not know the exact percentage of players. Orgeron also revealed that defensive lineman Nelson Jenkins has opted out of the season and that the team has not spoken to him for two weeks.
"Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it," Orgeron said on Tuesday. "I think that hopefully, they won't catch it again, and hopefully they're not out for games. ... Hopefully, that once you catch it, you don't get it again. I'm not a doctor. I think they have that 90-day window, so most of the players that have caught it, we do feel like they'll be eligible for games."
According to SEC protocols, players that have tested positive for the coronavirus do not have to undergo testing for another 90 days. LSU is among the SEC teams that have not provided regular updates about the number of players that have tested positive. However, Orgeron did reveal two weeks ago that all but two or three players offensive linemen missed practice due to testing.
LSU has not kicked off the season yet despite other programs taking part in games the past two weeks. The Tigers will officially start the 2020 campaign on Sept. 26 with a game against Mississippi State. Orgeron hopes that his players will be present for this matchup, considering that it should fall within the 90-day window.
While the Tigers will not have Jenkins on the roster for the season-opening SEC battle, they will see the return of another player. Defensive lineman Neil Farrell Jr. previously opted out of the season while citing family concerns amid the pandemic. Now he will make his return in time for the game.
The news out of LSU follows a Texas Tech announcement that five more football players have tested positive for coronavirus. The Red Raiders have had 75 players test positive since they returned to campus in mid-June. There are currently six cases involving football players that remain active at the school. Additionally, Texas Tech has 22 other active cases involving players from other sports.
According to ESPN, Texas Tech has 21 active cases on the football team at one point in August. However, the team did not pause football activities. "We followed all the protocols in here, and you just look at your numbers, and there's plenty of guys to practice," coach Matt Wells said to reporters at the time. The university is currently testing players three times a week. Any player that tests positive for the coronavirus immediately heads into self-isolation.