Laremy Tunsil held out by Ole Miss after NCAA prompting

Ole Miss benched its preseason All-American left tackle Laremy Tunsil for Saturday’s opener against UT Martin as a precautionary measure with rumors of a possible NCAA investigation. 

The Rebels issued a statement Saturday morning regarding Tunsil’s status:

As a precautionary measure, we are withholding Laremy Tunsil from today's game until the pending process can be completed. We are cooperating fully with the NCAA and feel this is the best way to protect Laremy, our football program and the university.

Tunsil was the subject of an offseason incident in Oxford after being arrested by police and accused of a role in a domestic situation involving his stepfather at his home.

Ole Miss said during the summer it was working with the NCAA regarding potential violations after Tunsil’s stepfather made allegations that the offensive lineman had improper contact with agents and received improper benefits. 

Tunsil is considered one of the most important players for No. 17 Ole Miss this season. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior has started at left tackle since his freshman season.

Tunsil’s absence didn’t matter. The Rebels dominated the overmatched Skyhawks, winning 76-3, even with Fahn Cooper starting at left tackle. But Tunsil — a possible first-round NFL draft pick in April — will be sorely needed when the Rebels open SEC play against Alabama on Sept. 19.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said he had "no idea" if Tunsil would be eligible for next week’s game against Fresno State.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE NEWS: Want stories delivered to you? Sign up for our College Football newsletters.