INDIANAPOLIS — Laremy Tunsil scored his first career touchdown in his final college game in this past season’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Oklahoma State, but that almost didn’t happen.
Tunsil, who could be this year’s first pick in the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans, admits that he considered leaving Ole Miss during his junior season while he served a seven-game suspension for accepting impermissible benefits.
“Of course you have thoughts, missing seven games, the NCAA not returning your calls or nothing like that. You’re going to have thoughts,” Tunsil said to a group of reporters at the NFL combine. “I had to sit down with coach (Hugh) Freeze and really talk to him about it.”
So what made Tunsil decide to return to school after serving his suspension?
“I talked to my mama, talked to coach Freeze. (I) wanted to be with my teammates — didn’t want to leave my teammates at all. We’re brothers,” he said.
The NFL hopeful didn’t directly answer if teams had asked about his suspension, but he laughed and did say he “doesn’t think any of that matters anymore.”
The gifts Tunsil received, which led to his suspension, included three rental cars, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for buying a used car, two nights of free stay at a home, an airline ticket and one-day use of a rental car, according to a release from the University of Mississippi back in October.
He accepted full responsibility in a statement, and the suspension isn’t expected to hurt his draft stock, as he is the consensus No. 1 projected pick in the draft.