With the book closed on arguably the most difficult phase of his life, Quintez Cephus is looking to move on to the next chapter. Whether that will involve a return to Madison is another matter entirely.
Late last week, a Dane County (Wisc.) jury found Cephus not guilty on a pair of sexual assault charges. Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault. The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.
It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts Friday.
Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester. In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights. That suit was dropped in March of this year.
With the legal entanglement in his rearview mirror, Cephus is now turning his focus to a return to school and, ultimately, a football field. The player’s attorney told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel it’s uncertain whether his client will petition to return to UW or continue his academic and athletic endeavors elsewhere.
“We are still in the phase of recovering from the fact that he spent the last year of his life under terrible strain and allegations,” the attorney, Andrew Miltenberg, told the Journal Sentinel. “It was a very rough ride over the last year. Everyone is just sort of coming up for air.”
In 2017, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7. His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team. Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.
Cephus still has two years of eligibility he could use, either at UW or another FBS program. He would be eligible to play immediately if he decided to transfer from the Badgers.
Thus far, for what it’s worth, Wisconsin has not commented on the not-guilty verdicts.