Not surprisingly, one Florida Gator with off-field issues will be taking his leave of Gainesville.
Citing “my recent actions and coaching changes,” Jordan Smith announced on Twitter that he “will not be returning to the University of Florida and will be looking for other opportunities to further my education and my football career.” The redshirt freshman defensive lineman added that “Florida was amazing to me and I will always be a Gator at heart.”
The “recent actions” to which Smith referred in his tweet stemmed from a controversy that first surfaced in mid-August.
Smith was one of what were ultimately nine Gator football players who were indefinitely suspended in connection to the misuse of scholarship money in general and, specifically, for making improper charges on their student IDs at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash. A police investigation stemming from the allegations led to felony charges being filed in late September.
Seven of those players — junior wide receiver Antonio Callaway, junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, junior running back Jordan Scarlett and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells — entered into a pretrial intervention program in October and, if they make restitution and “comply with probation protocols,” the charges will be dismissed.
The cases involving Smith and the ninth suspended player, true freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, remain open. It’s believed that Telfort, who reportedly has 30 felonies pending, is transferring as well.
Callaway has decided to leave the Gators as well, although he’s moving on to the NFL and entering the draft. 247Sports.com reports that Davis’ playing career may be over because of injuries sustained in a scooter accident that occurred sometime after his suspension.
The status of the other five players with the football program moving forward is unclear.
None of the suspended players played a down for the Gators this past season.