Motley ruled eligible, will help shore up defense

Friday, September 27, 2002

A Southeast Missouri State University defense that is banged up in general and already was thin on the line received a boost Thursday when Jermaine Motley was ruled eligible by the NCAA.

Motley, a transfer from Marshall who started at defensive tackle for the Indians the past two seasons, originally was a proposition 48 student, meaning he was academically ineligible his freshman year.

Proposition 48 students can regain the season of eligibility they originally lost if they are making satisfactory progress toward a degree following their senior year. Southeast officials thought Motley was in good shape in that area, but the NCAA evidently had issues, so Motley was ruled ineligible this summer.

But Southeast petitioned the NCAA, and word finally came through Thursday that Motley was ruled to have been making satisfactory progress toward a degree, meaning he will be eligible beginning with Saturday's game at Middle Tennessee State.

"There were some issues that had to be sorted out to make sure he was making satisfactory progress, and then it had to go through a couple of special committees," Southeast coach Tim Billings said. "We're happy Jermaine is going to be able to play now, both for him personally and for the team."

Motley, who has been practicing, is likely to play Saturday when the Indians (2-2) face the Division I-A Blue Raiders (0-3). The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder had 38 tackles last season after making 33 stops two years ago.

James Jennette, a 310-pound senior, has been the Indians' only experienced defensive tackle with considerable size, so Motley should bolster that position, especially with Ohio Valley Conference games starting next week.

"We're really thin up front, so Jermaine should be able to help us," Billings said.

Three other key defensive players probably won't play Saturday: cornerback Dimitri Patterson (hamstring), end Adam Jones (knee) and linebacker Michael Irving (knee).

Another defender, backup linebacker Todd Frazier, will miss the rest of the season because of a wrist injury.

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