Four of the nine Florida football players suspended indefinitely before the start of last season for credit card fraud have rejoined all team activities.
Running back Jordan Scarlett, wide receiver Rick Wells, and linebackers Ventrell Miller and James Houston will all join their teammates in the offseason conditioning program starting today.
In response to reports of the players’ return, UF released a statement from coach Dan Mullen on Tuesday night.
“All of our players understand the standards and expectations we have of them to be members of the Florida football program,” Mullen said.
There is still a chance the players could be facing a suspension of games by the university at the start of the 2018 season, but that has yet to be determined. The players received pre-trial intervention that will allow their third-degree felony charges to be dropped if they meet requirements set by the State Attorney’s Office.
A fifth suspended player — defensive end Keivonnis Davis — continues to recover from non-football injuries related to a scooter accident last fall. His playing future is uncertain due to the injuries.
The four other players who also had been suspended in the stolen credit card case — wide receiver Antonio Callaway, defensive end Jordan Smith, defensive tackle Richerd Desir-Jones and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort — are no longer enrolled at UF. Callaway declared for the NFL draft, while Telfort, Smith and Jones announced earlier their intentions to transfer.
Overall, nine players were suspended from the team indefinitely in mid-August due to their use of stolen card numbers to fund school bookstore accounts to purchase a variety of items. They all were facing at least one third-degree felony charge.
Telford and Smith were facing multiple third-degree felony charges and their cases have not been resolved yet with the State Attorney’s Office.
Seven players — Callaway, Desir-Jones, Scarlett, Houston, Wells, Miller and Davis — accepted pre-trial intervention in October and their charges will be dropped if they meet the demands of the intervention.
Scarlett is the most experienced and productive among the players returning. He led the Gators in rushing in 2016 with 889 yards and six touchdowns.
The return of the two linebackers — Houston and Miller — is big because of the lack of depth at the position.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.