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Disturbing details emerge in latest arrest of 2018 Florida signee

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The charges in and of themselves were disturbing enough.  Now, with the details surrounding them having emerged, a nauseating situation in Gainesville has gotten even more disturbing.

Reports emerged yesterday that 2018 Florida signee Justin Watkins was arrested and booked into the Alachua County Jail Tuesday on four charges, including a pair of third-degree felonies (false imprisonment/kidnapping and domestic battery by strangulation) as well as two misdemeanors (first-degree battery).  While no details were available at the time, a University of Florida Police Department arrest report, obtained by the Gainesville Sun, lays out a scenario involving Watkins and his girlfriend that makes one wonder why the player was simply suspended instead of being summarily dismissed.

From the Sun:

On the late afternoon of July 20, police say Watkins struck his 18-year-old girlfriend with an open and closed fist on both sides of her head and on her shoulders while holding her down on a dorm room bed.

He got on top of her, pinning her to the bed again, the report says, wrapped his hands around her neck and choked her three times, once for 15 seconds and twice for about eight seconds.

Police say Watkins knew that she has asthma.

Police say he confined her to the room by standing in the doorway and blocking the exit.

She said, “I want to leave,” and, “Get out of the way,” the report says. When she tried to leave, he grabbed her hair and belt, yanking her back into the room.

The alleged victim ultimately got away by spraying mace in Watkins’ face and running out of the apartment.  Watkins allegedly continued the assault by chasing after the woman and throwing a pair of items — a wooden brush and container of hair grease, per the police report — at her that struck her on the hand.

As of late Wednesday morning, Watkins remains jailed.  It remains to be seen whether these details being released publicly will prompt and/or force the university to take further action against Watkins, who head coach Dan Mullen announced Tuesday had “been suspended immediately from all activities.”

This was Watkins’ second arrest for violence against a female in two months.

In early May, Watkins, prior to enrolling at UF but after signing with the university, was arrested on one count of misdemeanor trespassing on school grounds.  It’s alleged in that incident that a verbal argument between Watkins and an unidentified female turned violent as Watkins shattered the woman’s cellphone, kicked her vehicle and attempted to let the air out of her tires.

It’s unknown if the female victim in that incident is the same as the victim in this latest situation.

A four-star member of the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class, Watkins was rated as the No. 16 wide receiver in the country; the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 89 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three players in UF’s class signed this past February were rated higher than Watkins.

Watkins recently enrolled in classes at UF.

Dabo Swinney turns Georgia Tech’s loss to The Citadel into swipe at Alabama, South Carolina, SEC

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The Citadel beat Georgia Tech on Saturday. It’s not great for the ACC, and particularly not great if you’re a College Football Playoff contender with the Yellow Jackets on your schedule, as Clemson is.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked about that game on Tuesday, and he deftly pivoted from a black mark on the ACC’s resume into a swipe at the entire SEC.

“That’s college football,” Swinney told 247Sports. “I mean heck, The Citadel was probably Alabama’s toughest game last year until Georgia. I mean I’m just telling the truth. The Citadel beat South Carolina somewhere here in the not-too-long-ago (past). That’s not a shocker. Georgia State went over and beat Tennessee. I mean that’s college football. Anything can happen, especially early, especially early in the season. Because nobody knows anything about anybody at this point.”

The Citadel played Alabama to a 10-10 halftime score last November… before the Tide pulled away for a 50-17 win, and the military academy did beat South Carolina in 2015.

But it wasn’t Alabama’s closest pre-Georgia game, but arguing facts when you’re in a troll-esque argument proves you’ve already lost, doesn’t it?

Florida to host Florida Atlantic in 2021

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Florida will host Florida Atlantic in 2021, FAU announced Tuesday. The game will take place on Sept. 4 and serve as the season-opener for both schools.

The schools have met three times previously, all of them in Gainesville. Florida won 59-20 on Nov. 17, 2007, 41-3 on Sept. 3, 2011, and 20-14 on Nov. 21, 2015.

The game will round out both schools’ non-conference schedules.

Florida will visit USF on Sept. 11, host Florida State on Nov. 27 and has a TBD home game against Samford, most likely on Nov. 20.

Today’s news means Florida has a future game on the schedule with every FBS program in the Sunshine State except UCF and Florida International. Florida beat Miami in Orlando to open this season and will play a home-and-home with the ‘Canes in 2024-25.

Florida Atlantic will follow its Gainesville trip with an excursion to Colorado Springs to play Air Force. After that, the Owls will host Fordham and Georgia Southern to round out September.

 

With Husky mascot retiring in 2021, Northern Illinois to introduce successor on Tuesday

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Northern Illinois’ husky mascot, Mission, is retiring in 2021, and on Tuesday the school will introduce his successor.

Mission II, born on July 6 and weighing a tender 14.5 ounces, will replace Mission two years from now, and the puppy will begin his official duties as NIU’s next official mascot on Tuesday.

“We have long been searching for the heir apparent to Mission, and there is no question that we have found the right Huskie,” NIU Alumni Association Executive Director Reggie Bustinza said. “Mission has set very high expectations, but there is no doubt in my mind that Mission II cannot only meet those demands, but surpass them.

“We are happy that Mission will have plenty of years to enjoy his retirement.”

Mission will turn 10 years old in 2021, and by that time Mission II will be fully versed in all the expectations placed upon the Official Northern Illinois Husky.

Mission II, a Siberian husky born in southern Wisconsin, will accompany Mission “to all eligible events for experiential learning and proofing,” which begins at a tasting for an NIU-branded beer on Tuesday evening in DeKalb.

The school has not revealed when Mission II will make his debut at a Husky football game, and in the meantime he’ll continue training with Lisa Boland while also attending daily puppy classes.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing Mission and Mission II do the job together during the training period,” Boland said. “It will be wonderful to watch ‘Mini-Mish’ learn from Mission, and see them work as a team. Mission has set a very high bar in mascotting, and Mission II will be working very hard to follow in his footsteps. I am so proud of Mission and the work that he’s done as the official NIU mascot.

“I am thrilled to have the privilege of guiding his successor to best represent Huskie Nation.”

Troy loses RB B.J. Smith, SBC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, to season-ending injury

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This one will certainly leave a lasting mark.

Over the summer, Troy’s B.J. Smith was named as the Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Two months later, the football program confirmed, the running back will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2019 season because of an injury sustained in the Week 3 loss to Southern Miss.

While the specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged by the school, it’s believed Smith injured his knee midway through the second quarter of last Saturday’s game.

Last season, Smith led the Trojans with 1,186 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.  This season, the fourth-year senior had rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in two games.

Because of the timing of the injury, Smith can take a redshirt for the 2019 season and return to the Trojans next season.