Gainesville, Fla. — Standout receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett are among nine Florida players facing felony fraud charges for allegedly transferring money from a stolen credit card and using it to buy electronics.
According to Alachua County court records, sworn complaints were filed Monday against the suspended players. The State Attorney’s Office will investigate the complaints and decide whether to formally charge the players with third-degree felony charges.
When asked about the potential charges affecting the players’ status with the team, coach Jim McElwain said: “You’re darn right.”
State Attorney Bill Cervone said Monday Callaway transferred $1,970 from a stolen credit card number to his campus bookstore debit account. Scarlett transferred $1,940 to his account from the same card number, Cervone said. Callaway and Scarlett then bought high-end computers and fancy headphones at the bookstore, Cervone said.
Five others — defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller and receiver Rick Wells — also made one charge with the stolen card number, ranging in value from $500 to $2,000, authorities said.
Those seven are eligible for a statutory diversion program that could lead to reduced charges and potentially improve their chances of returning to the team.
Defensive lineman Jordan Smith and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort were more egregious offenders, according to university police reports.
Smith is facing five charges, and Telfort is facing 30.
“Well, obviously, know this: I really care about those guys,” McElwain said. “We’re going to do right by them. You’re asking me something, which this is the first I’ve heard about it. Obviously, we sit down as a staff. We sit down as an administration. Obviously, the university first and what that is. Yet, at the end of the day I’ll do everything I can to help these guys.”
The suspended players remain in school, and some are still living with teammates.
Jones responds to criticism
Tennessee coach Butch Jones criticized the media coverage of his program while responding to a question about an injured player.
Jones, a former Central Michigan coach, expressed his displeasure with the “drama” surrounding media coverage of Tennessee’s program and cited “all the positive things we’ve done.”
“I’m the caretaker of Tennessee football,” Jones said during his two-minute outburst. “I’m here to develop and grow a football program, recruit the best possible student-athletes and win football games and graduate our players. That’s my responsibility. I take that very seriously.”
Rutgers cornerback injured
Rutgers lost cornerback Blessuan Austin for the season with a knee injury.
Austin tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Saturday’s 27-16 loss in Nebraska.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash called the injury a blow for the Scarlet Knights (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten). The junior had started in each of his three seasons. He earned honorable mention in the conference’s awards after last season.
Damon Hayes is expected to replace Austin in the lineup.
Ash says Hayes needs to improve and develop, but he’s excited he’ll have the opportunity to start.
South Alabama coach Joey Jones fired offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent.
Jones said he made the decision after Vincent came to him “and expressed concern about our current status and what is best for our program moving forward.”
Offensive line coach Richard Owens will take over the offense and work with the quarterbacks.
The Jaguars are 1-3 and coming off a double-overtime loss to Idaho. They rank 109th in total offense, 105 in passing offense and 91st in scoring.
This was Vincent’s third season as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and his sixth on the staff overall.
South Alabama visits Louisiana Tech Saturday night in its final nonconference game.