Orgeron, while meeting with local reporters Thursday evening, said Fulton was eligible to play immediately. The junior cornerback, who was a blue-chip recruit in the 2016 class, was originally serving a two-year suspension for tampering with a drug test but had appealed the decision.
"Just got word from the NCAA. Kristian Fulton has been reinstated, reinstated effective immediately," Orgeron said. "I want to thank [athletic director] Joe Alleva and compliance for working so hard and I want to thank Kristian Fulton and his family for all the work that they've done and believing in Kristian."
Fulton has served 18 months of his suspension, including all of the 2017 season for allegedly using another person's urine during a February 2017 drug test. Fulton appealed the original suspension, but that appeal was denied earlier this month. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Alleva sent the NCAA a four-page letter requesting that it reclassify the violation to one that would carry a penalty that was less harsh and would reduce the NCAA suspension.
Orgeron was pleased with the news.
"He practiced every day here like he was the starter," Orgeron said. "He never blinked. I'm so proud of the young man. I know our team will be elated."
Orgeron wouldn't say what Fulton's role would be when the Tigers open the season on Sept. 2 vs. Miami at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The fact that Fulton has been practicing regularly suggests he could be ready to play sooner rather than later.
"Kristian's gonna be eligible; That's all I can say now," he said. "This just came to me so I won't make any other comment about it, about when he's gonna play or not play, but I know right now it's effective immediately."
Fulton was the No. 27 overall player in the 2016 ESPN 300 and the third-ranked cornerback in the nation. He played in three games as a true freshman before sitting out last season serving his suspension. He joins a secondary that has a preseason All-American in sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams.