ORLANDO -- Freshman tailback Jordan Scarlett did not travel with the team to Orlando after he was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession on Dec. 19.
Gators head coach Jim McElwain confirmed Scarlett’s one-game suspension Tuesday, saying the former St. Thomas Aquinas star would “not play” in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan but “he’ll be back with his team.”
Scarlett rushed for 181 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries in 2015.
He had a breakout performance in UF’s win over Georgia (career-high 96 yards), but the freshman rushed for just 16 yards on 12 carries in Florida's final five games.
“He’s a great kid and he handled [the suspension] the way you should handle it,” McElwain said.
“He stood up, honest, and I’m proud of him for that. He’ll be back with us as we going going for winter classes, which start on [Jan.] 5th.”
While four Florida players plan to leave school early for the 2016 NFL Draft, the team’s talented safety duo has remained mum on the topic.
Junior defensive backs Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye have given teammates little indication on their future, with fellow defensive backs Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor both saying they’re not sure what Neal and Maye will do.
“It would be awesome [if they both return to school],” Tabor said.
“Get those two guys back with me and Quincy [Wilson] and there’s no drop-off.”
All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has already announced he’s going pro, but Neal and Maye face tougher decisions since they’re not sure-fire early round picks.
Neal, a 6-1, 220-pound thumper, ranks third on the team in tackles with 85, while Maye has submitted a career-year with 73 stops, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
“Look, I will never beg someone to do anything. You got to have it in your heart. To be successful at anything in life, it’s got to be a passion, OK. And sometimes in life we all maybe look for … hmmm, what to say maybe, uh, sure things, you know, guarantees. There are no guarantees. And I just want him to be happy. I want him to be excited about wherever he chooses to be, and we’re here to help, as I am anybody on this football team.”
-- McElwain on if he tried to convince quarterback Will Grier not to transfer.
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