This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
Christians across the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, but some were celebrating another holiday.
April 20, aka “4/20,” has become a de-facto holiday to celebrate the use of marijuana. With 4/20 in mind, we decided to use that as the basis for this week’s Doc 5 – the top five marijuana mistakes.
There are no shortage of college football players running into legal trouble throughout the offseason, many of them for marijuana charges. Any semi-regular reader of Dr. Saturday knows that. Over the years there have been plenty of top players whose marijuana use ultimately led to dismissals that impacted their teams.
Here are our top five.
TOP FIVE MARIJUANA MISTAKES
NO. 5 - JEREMIAH MASOLI
The journey of Jeremiah Masoli was a colorful one.
Masoli started his college football career at the City College of San Francisco before he transferred to play for Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon. Masoli started the 2008 season third on the Ducks depth chart, but a preseason knee injury for Nate Costa and a Week 1 concussion for Justin Roper pressed the sophomore into action.
He did not disappoint.
By Week 5 Masoli claimed the team's full-time starting job -- a job he would not relinquish until he ran into those dreaded off-the-field troubles.
Kelly took over as head coach in 2009 and Masoli returned as starter, leading the Ducks to the 2009 Pac-10 title. The Ducks’ season ended in disappointing fashion with a 26-17 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl – Masoli’s last game in an Oregon uniform.
On Jan. 25, 2010, a little more than three weeks after the Rose Bowl, Masoli and a teammate were identified as suspects in an on-campus theft. Masoli later pled guilty to second-degree burglary and was suspended for the entire 2010 season by Kelly. Kelly decided to give Masoli a second chance, allowing him to remain on the team and use his redshirt year with the hopes of returning in 2011.
Less than five months later, in June, Masoli was pulled over by police and was cited for driving with a suspended license and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Two days later, Kelly booted his star quarterback from the team for “failure to adhere to obligations previously outlined.”
His second chance was over.
"He knew what he had at stake," Kelly told The Oregonian. "We set parameters for him and it was up to him to make sure that he followed through.
"We had a plan in place, he had an opportunity to come back in 2011 and he failed to do the things that he needed to do."
A Sports Illustrated piece detailed the incident, saying that a "small amount of marijuana in his glove box." Masoli also admitted to smoking marijuana but would not say whether or not the drugs found in his car that evening belonged to him.
"Yes," he said. "I've used marijuana in the past, just like a lot of college kids. I now know that's not the example I want to set as a student-athlete or a big brother."
It looked to be a blow for Oregon, who was forced to go with unproved sophomore Darron Thomas at quarterback that season. Thomas stepped up and led the high-powered Ducks offense to a perfect 12-0 regular season. That season came to a tough end however, as the Ducks fell in the BCS National Championship to Cam Newton and Auburn, 22-19. Thomas played well but threw two interceptions in the title game. It’s all speculative now, but you can’t help but wonder if Masoli would have put the Ducks over the top.
Before Masoli's off-field incidents, he was being hyped as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. His versatility coupled with the weapons on that Oregon offense made him extremely tough for defenses to gameplan for. Chip Kelly knew how to identify mismatches, and Masoli's ability to thrive with the read-option made him a perfect fit for Kelly's offense.
His numbers -- 28 passing touchdowns and 23 rushing touchdowns in two years -- were impressive and they were only going to get better in his senior year with the Ducks. Unfortunately, that potential was never realized because of his arrests.
After his dismissal, Masoli transferred to Ole Miss. The NCAA initially denied his waiver to play immediately, but Ole Miss appealed the decision and Masoli was ultimately allowed to suit up for the Rebels. For the season, Masoli threw for 2,039 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the 4-8 Rebels.
His off-field issues might have been a red flag for NFL teams. Masoli went undrafted and had a brief training camp stint with the 49ers before being released. Masoli has also played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League in 2011 and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in 2012. He was then traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, where he remains on the roster.
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