« No. 7 Florida gymnastics falls to No. 1 LSU | Main | Florida baseball, led by Singer, picks up opening-night win »

Four suspended Florida football players reinstated to team

GAINESVILLE — The headliner is Jordan Scarlett, the running back who was supposed to lead Florida's backfield in 2017 before he was suspended ahead of the team's season opener and never returned. He, along with eight teammates, were accused of credit card fraud. Scarlett and three of those teammates were cleared to rejoin the team on Tuesday, ending a monthslong hiatus for the quartet. 

Linebackers Ventrell Miller and James Houston along with receiver Rick Wells were also cleared to return, but again, Scarlett is the most consequential of the group. The St. Thomas Aquinas alumnus rushed for a team-best 907 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.

Newcomers Malik Davis and Adarius Lemons stepped up in Scarlett's absence and will push him for playing time alongside rising junior Lamical Perine, who led the Gators with 588 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in 2017.

Incoming recruits Iverson Clement and Dameon Pierce could also factor into Florida's backfield. But assuming Scarlett has stayed in shape during his time away from the team, he should be the favorite to start come UF's season opener against Charleston Southern on Sept. 1 after all the unfulfilled hype he carried into the season that never was. 

Wells, a rising redshirt sophomore wideout, has never caught a pass in college. And both Miller and Houston were true freshmen a season ago, so neither one of them has played a college snap either. Both of them could, however, play an important role in the upcoming season by bolstering Florida's depth at linebacker — a position group that underperformed in 2017 and needs capable bodies behind starters Vosean Joseph and David Reese. 

The four reinstated players were part of a group of seven who signed agreements with the State Attorney's Office to avoid felony charges for their alleged credit card fraud if they follow the agreements. 

As for the remaining suspended players, four of them have left the school. Defensive end Jordan Smith, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort have all opted to transfer elsewhere. Desir-Jones will transfer to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas while Smith and Telfort haven't announced their transfer destinations. Smith and Telfort are also the two players who were not offered pre-trial intervention programs. Smith still faces a potential nine felony charges while Telfort faces a potential 30. 

Antonio Callaway, the former star receiver and Miami Booker T. Washington alum, opted to leave Florida early for the NFL Draft. 

Keivonnis Davis, a Miami Central alumnus, is the only player whose case has yet to be resolved. Davis was involved in a scooter accident during his suspension, and it's unknown if his injuries will prevent him from playing football this season and beyond. He's still enrolled in classes. 





Powered by TypePad