Regardless of how it may be parsed, this isn’t a good look. At all.
We have already known about four different instances of some type of violence against women allegedly perpetrated by members of the Florida football program since Dan Mullen took over as head coach. As noted by the Tampa Bay Times, that number is now up to five as defensive back John Huggins was accused late last year by a female tutor of choking her.
From the Times:
In October, a 19-year-old student accused Huggins of choking her during a tutoring session, according to a police report obtained this week by the Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets. Huggins was upset, the report alleges, because the tutor took his phone to make sure he would stay for the entire session (which she said Huggins often failed to do).
The woman had previously been made uncomfortable because Huggins pulled her hair in an earlier tutoring session, according to the report.
For whatever reason, the alleged victim declined to pursue charges against Huggins. The defensive back didn’t play in the last five games of last season after the incident, seemingly serving a previously unreported suspension.
The ugly accusations serve as yet another off-field black eye for Mullen’s squad.
- Four-star 2018 signee Justin Watkins was arrested twice in a two-month span last year. The first was on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing on school grounds after a verbal argument with 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. The second was even more serious as Watkins was arrested and booked 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), after allegedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed, punching her with a closed fist and choking her on three separate occasions. He announced in late July of last year that he was leaving UF “to better my opportunities.”
- In early May of this year, it was reported that four-star 2019 signee Jalon Jones had been accused by an unnamed female of sexually assaulting her in the early morning hours of April 6. It was subsequently unearthed that another unnamed female had accused the UF quarterback of sexually assaulting her that same day as well at the same on-campus residence as the first alleged victim. As was the case with Watkins, Jones left UF and ultimately landed at an FCS school.
- Otis Yelverton was arrested in April on one count of aggravated cyberstalking, which also led to his dismissal as UF’s assistant director of player personnel. It was alleged at the time that, among the 40-plus calls, Facebook messages and texts the 51-year-old Yelverton sent/made to his former girlfriend, one included a threat to blow up her car. Late last week, and citing “insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction,” the State’s Attorney’s Office formally dismissed the case against Yelverton.
- In May, defensive back Brian Edwards was arrested on one count of misdemeanor battery after allegedly abusing his girlfriend, although charges were never formally filed due to insufficient evidence. Edwards entered the NCAA transfer portal in early July and transferred to Central Michigan a month later.
“We do a lot. How many of them were actually charged?” Mullen said, by way of 247Sports.com, when asked about the Huggins situation Tuesday. “Part of it is also, there’s a lot out there with women. Now we do a lot of education with our team on that stuff. Obviously, I’m a big anti-violence-against-women person. I’m also a person that I really want to have all the information as I make decisions on what happens in different situations.
“That’s one of the toughest deals, because it’s a jump to conclusion on every detail that happens sometimes.”
Huggins remains away from the team as he continues to deal with what’s only being described as a “family situation” that Mullen says is unrelated to the accusations a year ago.