Troubled tale of Florida lineman ended with him off team for good

Ronnie Wilson had three chances to make amends for legal problems.

Published: Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 11:42 p.m.

If you had to pick a poster child for Florida's struggles with the law during the four-year Urban Meyer era, the troubled tale of Florida lineman Ronnie Wilson would come to mind.

Three times, Wilson had chances to make amends for legal problems. Three times, Wilson failed.

Wilson was recruited in Meyer's initial 2005 class out of Ely High in Pompano Beach. Much was expected of Wilson, who was ranked the 16th best offensive guard prospect in the country in the Class of 2005.

But things began to take a turn for the worse in April 2007. According to a Gainesville Police report, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wilson punched and spat on a victim outside of a Gainesville nightclub. He then took an AK-47 assault rifle out of the trunk of the car and, according to the report, fired it into the air.

Wilson was arrested on charges of discharging a firearm in public and battery. But after pleading no contest to charges of misdemeanor battery and discharging a firearm, Wilson received two years of probation. He also was required to perform community service and undergo a mental health evaluation.

Meyer suspended Wilson indefinitely following the arrest. But Wilson's problems didn't stop there.

In January 2008, Wilson was arrested on marijuana possession charges when officers allegedly found 6 grams of marijuana in his car.

Wilson caught a break when the State Attorney's Office didn't notice he was on probation, so he wasn't jailed. Then, the State Attorney's Office dropped the charges, claiming possession was difficult to prove.

In August 2008, Meyer allowed Wilson back on the Florida team as a walk-on after he was readmitted to school and had completed his community service.

Wilson practiced with the team, going by the name "Ron" in the roster, but never played.

Then, in October 2008, Wilson was arrested a third time on misdemeanor battery and assault charges.

According to the GPD report, Wilson allegedly struck two victims during a late-night birthday party at an off-campus apartment complex.

One victim, a woman, suffered a broken wrist. The case is still active.

The incident occurred hours after the Florida football team returned from its 38-7 victory at Arkansas. After this, Wilson was kicked off the team for good.

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