COLUMBUS — A backup cornerback for Ohio State has been suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules and will not play in the national championship game against LSU, the school said Thursday.
Eugene Clifford, a freshman from Cincinnati, will not practice or play with the top-ranked Buckeyes (11-1) on Jan. 7 at the Superdome. The announcement was made in a brief e-mail late Thursday afternoon.
There had been reports on a Columbus television station Wednesday night and in Thursday morning’s editions of The Columbus Dispatch that Clifford and Ohio State’s starting cornerback, Donald Washington, had both been suspended for a violation of team rules.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did not immediately return a call seeking further information.
“This is it. We’re not expecting anything more than what you have right now,” said Shelly Poe, the school’s sports information director for football.
Smith had declined to confirm the suspensions of the two players earlier on Thursday, saying there was “work to be done.”
Clifford was a prized recruit last spring after receiving all-state and several national honors during his days at Colerain High School.
He was listed as Malcolm Jenkins’ backup at border corner on the Buckeyes’ latest two-deep chart.
The Buckeyes’ final workout before the holidays was Wednesday. They will be off until returning Dec. 26, then practice for a week before flying to New Orleans on Jan. 2.