GAINESVILLE -- Two freshmen on the University of Florida football team were arrested over the summer for possession of alcohol under the age of 21, the Miami Herald has learned.
Freshman safety Matt Elam was arrested on July 2 and freshman receiver Solomon Patton was arrested on Aug. 1. Elam was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor after being arrested for allegedly possessing a can of carbonated malt liquor in the parking lot of a bank on NW 1st Street in Gainesville, according to the arresting officer. Elam was seen holding a 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko, according to the officer.
Elam pleaded no contest on July 21 and was ordered to pay a fine. The case is still open, according to Alachua County records, because Elam attempted to pay the fine with a personal check. The $121 personal check -- subject field "open container ticket" -- was returned to Elam's residence in Riviera Beach along with a letter from Alachua County requesting the fine be paid in cash or by money order. Elam has until Oct. 27 to pay the fine, according to records.
Elam received public recognition from UF coach Urban Meyer on Thursday for being a leader of the freshman class. A strong safety by trade, Elam has also practiced at nickel back during the preseason and could receive playing time at the position in the Gators' season opener on Sept. 4 against Miami (Ohio). Elam will not be suspended for the season opener, according to Florida assistant coach Chuck Heater, who coaches the team's safeties.
Patton was arrested at Plasma Lounge in downtown Gainesville and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for allegedly possessing a drink containing vodka. According to the arresting officer, Patton attempted to "pass the cup off" upon sight of a law enforcement officer. Patton received deferred prosecution on Aug. 18.
Patton's status for the season opener has not been determined.