Wide receiver Keiwone Malone has been cleared by the NCAA and is eligible to begin competition immediately, University of Memphis football coach Larry Porter announced Friday.
Malone, who transferred from Alabama this summer, has been practicing since the start of fall camp and will play in tomorrow’s game against Arkansas State.
“With the assistance of the University of Alabama and the totality of the circumstances, the NCAA has approved the waiver for Keiwone, and he is approved for competition immediately,” said Nicole Green, the U of M’s assistant athletic director for compliance.
Malone, who graduated from Mitchell High School (Memphis, Tenn.), transferred back home to Memphis in late July. Although he red-shirted for the Crimson Tide as a freshman last season, he was placed on suspension in June by Tide coach Nick Saban for an unspecified violation of team rules at the time of his transfer.
NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 states, “[a] student who transfers to any NCAA institution from a collegiate institution while the student is disqualified or suspended from the previous institution for disciplinary reasons (as opposed to academic reasons) must complete one calendar year of residence at the certifying institution.”
Malone and the U of M applied for a hardship waiver in August in order for Malone to regain eligibility. The U of M’s case was that the 5-foot-11 receiver had transferred to Memphis to be closer to his ill grandmother.
Malone was rated a three-star prospect by Scout in 2010. He finished his career at Mitchell with 209 receptions for more than 4,000 yards and 57 touchdowns.
“We are very excited that Keiwone has been cleared to play for us,” Porter said in the release. “I am thankful to Nicole Green and her staff for all of their tireless efforts in making sure that all of the relevant paperwork was provided. I am also thankful to the NCAA for their quick response in this matter.”
The red-shirt freshman is a welcomed addition to the Tigers’ offense, which put up just 14 points in their season opener against No. 20 Mississippi State last week.
Malone should provide true freshman quarterback Taylor Reed with a viable deep threat, starting next week in a crucial game against Arkansas State.
Scout’s Scott Kennedy wrote in his evaluation of Malone last year that “he’s a candidate to play any of the wide receiver positions but that his change of direction and size make him an ideal candidate as a slot receiver or return man.”
“Malone has excellent hands and elevates well in tight spaces,” Kennedy wrote. “Lethal in the open field, Malone is the type to make a guy miss in space.”