It’s not often we devote a single post to a junior college signee, let alone multiple ones. D.J. Pettway, though, is no normal JUCO addition.
The defensive lineman, a four-star Alabama recruit in 2011, was dismissed by the Tide in February of this year after being charged with two felony counts related to the beating and robbery of a UA student. Two days after Pettway proclaimed he was back with the Tide following a season at the JUCO level, UA confirmed the player’s return. Because of the resulting controversy, the school’s athletic director even felt compelled to release a statement addressing said return.
Absent, though, was a public comment from The Process One. Until now.
Sunday night, Nick Saban addressed the decision to both allow Pettway back into the football program specifically and to the university in general. And, for posterity, here are the Alabama head coach’s Pettway quotes, by way of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
“The university made some things that this particular guy (D.J. Pettway) could do and if he did all those things, they would look at letting him back in school. Based on what he did, based on his punishment and penalty, and based on what was required for him to go through a series of things, the university would make a decision to let him back in school, which he wanted to come back. He did all of those things. The university made a decision that he could come back. We made a decision that we wanted him back. We know D.J. Pettway very well. He certainly made a mistake in terms of what he did. We felt that this one person, because he did the things he was required to do, deserved a second chance.”
“D.J. was never a bad guy when he was here. We never had a lot of problems with him before. He did make a horrible decision to be involved with this incident but his involvement and the severity of his punishment was based on his involvement. Those are the guidelines that were set for him to get an opportunity to come back.”
The incident to which Saban attaches the “horrible decision” label involved three UA football players, including Pettway, accused of “[punching] a student’s head and face and [kicking] him in the ribs and back area.” The three — Pettway, linebacker Tyler Hayes and defensive back Eddie Williams – were charged with two counts each of felony second-degree robbery, with the charges related to the theft of an Apple laptop as well as a debit card. Running back Brent Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card that was stolen in the attack. All four were ultimately dismissed.
According to Saban, Pettway was the only one of the four who “[had the] opportunity” to return.
As for how Pettway wound his way back to Tuscaloosa, Saban acknowledged a potential return was discussed in the immediacy of the lineman’s dismissal.
“I told D.J. when the die was cast and this happened that if he did the things he was supposed to do we would certainly take it into consideration based on how he manages himself and things from now to coming back,” Saban said. “Until the university made the decision to allow him back in school, or cleared us to be able to recruit him, so we thought he could get back in school, we didn’t have any communication with him.”
As Yoda would say, stinks to high Heaven, this one does.
Or, as Mr. Vader once noted, the farce is strong with this one…