UCLA commit Jalen Starks has been dismissed from the Crespi Carmelite (Encino, Calif.) football team, coach Troy Thomas told The Los Angeles Times. Thomas did not get into specifics about the reason for his three-star running back recruit’s dismissal.
“He did not meet the expectations of the program. … I believe Jalen has come a long way, and it’s a shame he couldn’t finish this. My hope is it will be a great lesson for him so he doesn’t make the same mistakes in the future.”
Starks hasn’t played since injuring his shoulder in the first half of a 35-19 loss to Lawndale (Calif.) on Sept. 11. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Crespi led Lawndale 19-7 at halftime, but Starks exited in the third quarter after attempting to play through injury.
The Celts (1-6) are winless since Starks went down in the third game of the year. Crespi finished 9-2 last season, when the 6-foot-1, 240-pound bruising back rushed for 897 yards and 11 scores on 139 carries (6.45 yards per carry), according to MaxPreps. Thomas has coached Starks since leaving Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) to coach his alma mater in 2013.
Starks’ mother, Brandy Nunoo, also avoided specifics when reached by the L.A. Times, describing a testy relationship lacking communication between her son and his coach.
“Thomas constantly picks at my son and others’ self-esteem and doesn’t want to deal with parents. He never tried to work with Jalen.”
This past summer, Thomas offered a glowing review of Starks in a preseason L.A. Times feature, suggesting he would’ve handed Starks the ball had the two been in the same position as Pete Carroll and Marshawn Lynch during the Super Bowl’s dramatic ending.
“There’s no doubt I would have given the ball to Jalen Starks.”
Just two months later, Thomas won’t be calling any plays for Starks, goal line or otherwise.