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Worse Draft Night: Laremy Tunsil or Ole Miss Football Program?

April 29, 2016 • Ben Heck • AFC East, Features, Front Page, Miami Dolphins, NFL Draft

Instead of last night’s opening round of the 2016 NFL Draft being the best night of Laremy Tunsil’s young life, it turned out to be a nearly catastrophic, nightmare-ish evening for the Ole Miss offensive tackle.

Tunsil, the most-regarded offensive tackle in this year’s class, was slated to be a top five pick and was likely going to go as early as the No. 3 slot of the San Diego Chargers. But then, this happened:

A 30-second video of Tunsil clearly using a gas mask to smoke marijuana was posted to his verified Twitter account, and then subsequently deleted, just 10 minutes prior to the start of the draft (video above).

The Chargers, at No. 3, then proceeded to skip out on selecting Tunsil. And then Baltimore at No. 6, another team slated to potentially draft him, went and took Notre Dame’s OT Ronnie Stanley instead. Two offensive tackles, Stanley and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin (No. 8 to Tennessee), were selected ahead of Tunsil, who dropped out of the top 10.

Finally, with the No. 13 pick, the Miami Dolphins pulled the trigger and snagged Tunsil. Nightmare over…right?

Wrong.

Later in the evening, after Tunsil had already put on the Dolphins’ cap and shook commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand on stage, another alleged social media hack took place. On Tunsil’s official Instagram account, screenshots of texts exchanged between Tunsil and his head coach (Hugh Freeze) and administrators at Ole Miss were posted. The screenshots appeared to show Tunsil discussing rent money payments, which would prove that he had accepted money while playing at Ole Miss. A strict violation of NCAA guidelines.

And then there was this post-draft press conference, in which Tunsil seemed to basically admit that he had accepted the money.

Luckily for Tunsil, the last part likely won’t effect him directly. He’s already put that Dolphins cap on, and it would only be a violation of NCAA rules. So it’ll be his school, Ole Miss, and his former coaches who potentially take the brunt of that mistake. I think we can all count on an investigation occurring, because the NCAA just loves it when this sort of thing makes the news.

Let’s do a quick recap of Laremy’s night:

*Drops out of the top 10, loses out on several million dollars.

*Hacked via social media not once, but TWICE, in the same night (and all things seem to be pointing toward his step dad being the offender, but that’s mere speculation).

*Unintentionally throws his Ole Miss coaches/administrators under the bus.

Talk about a PR’s worst nightmare. But the good news here is that it should be in the rearview mirror, and hopefully Tunsil can begin to focus on signing his contract and getting his National Football League career underway in South Beach.

So to answer the title question: sure, Laremy lost out on a millions…but the repercussions of any NCAA violations, if an investigation turns anything up, could have a much larger long-term effect on the school’s football program. We’ll call this one a draw.

Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images

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