Rick Wells

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Miami CB D.J. Ivey suspended for opener; Florida adds four suspensions of their own

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A time-honored tradition in college football is underway: Florida-based schools announcing suspensions as their opening game kicks off.

On Saturday in Orlando, both Miami and Florida confirmed a number of players would miss the Week 0 opener at Camping World Stadium that is serving as the first FBS game of the 2019 season.

Confirming earlier reports, the Hurricanes announced that likely starting cornerback D.J. Ivey did not make the trip for a violation of team rules. Al Blades Jr. got the nod in his place opposite veteran corner Trajan Bandy against the Gators.

Scoring perhaps the first victory of the night over their rivals, Florida appeared to one-up the visitors from Coral Gables with not one but four suspensions. Safety Brad Stewart, wideout Rick Wells, defensive back Pat Moorer and defensive tackle T.J. Slaton were held out “for not living up to the Gators standard” but no specifics were issued.

The old in-state rivals are meeting for the first time since 2013 and will shift to an on-campus set in 2024 and 2025 as part of a recently confirmed home-and-home series.

Florida suspends seven for failing to ‘live up to the Gator standard’

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Not that it matters much given the opponent, but Florida will be a bit shorthanded when it opens up the 2018 season.

In a news release about an hour before kickoff, Florida announced that seven players have been suspended for tonight’s opener against FCS Charleston Southern — defensive tackle Luke Ancrum, defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, cornerback Brian Edwards, defensive end CeCe Jefferson, running back Adarius Lemons, wide receiver Kadarius Toney (pictured) and offensive lineman James Washington.

The suspensions of Campbell and Toney aren’t surprising as they were involved in a bizarre offseason incident involving airsoft guns, a frying pan, a baseball bat, rocks and a gambler nicknamed Tay Bang. Five other Gators connected to that incident — wide receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells, quarterback Emory Jones and tight ends C’yonta Lewis and Kemore Gamble — avoided suspensions.

Jefferson’s suspension is for academic reasons, the Orlando Sentinel reported.  It’s unclear what exactly the other four players did to earn their respective suspensions.

Toney’s 15 catches for 152 yards were both fourth on the team, while Jefferson led the team in sacks last season with 4½.  Campbell played in nine games during the 2017 season.

Reputed gambler reportedly gave Florida Gator football players discounts on rental cars

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The Florida football program might have bigger issues to deal with than an incident involving mock assault rifles, rocks, bats and a frying pan.

A report emerged in the middle of last week that six Gators football players — wide receivers Kadarius Toney (pictured), Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells as well as defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, tight end Kemore Gamble and quarterback Emory Jones — are facing university discipline following an on-campus confrontation in late May with a Gainesville-area gambler named Devante’ “Tay Bang” Zachery and his associates.

In the latest development connected to the bizarre situation, First Coast News is reporting that Zachery, an employee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told the Gainesville Police Department that he gave Gator football players discounts on rental vehicles.  The Orlando Sentinel wrote that “Zachery filed a report last week with the [GPD] that gave further details on the fractious relationship with the Gators.”

The names of the players who were allegedly on the receiving end of the discounts weren’t divulged.

If Zachery’s claims are accurate, they would very likely constitute NCAA violations.  The university said in a statement that it’s aware of the allegations and is looking into it.

We understand GPD has followed up last week’s UPD report with a background report that has Devante Zachery (aka Tay Bang) as its primary source. We are not aware if there will be any additional information provided by GPD on this matter. Anytime we get information involving our student-athletes we look into it.

At this point, it’s unclear what if any type of punishment from the NCAA the unnamed players could be facing.  It’s also unclear if there is anything deeper to the gambling aspect other than Zachery’s alleged association with it.

Of the players involved in the original confrontation, Cleveland led the Gators in receiving yards (410) and was second in receptions (22) last season, while Toney’s 15 catches for 152 yards were both fourth on the team.  Campbell played in nine games in 2017, with Gamble taking a redshirt his true freshman season.  Jones, originally an Ohio State commit, was a four-star member of UF’s 2018 recruiting class.

The May kerfuffle was actually the second incident involving airsoft/BB guns for two of the players.

In mid-July of 2016, Cleveland and Wells were arrested and originally charged with criminal mischief for damaging property and shooting a missile inside an occupied dwelling; both of those charges were felonies. The two allegedly shot BB guns at and around a dorm on the UF campus, causing more than $1,000 worth of damage.

Those charges were ultimately reduced to criminal mischief, and Bonnie & Clod were suspended for the 2016 opener.

Additionally, Wells was one of several Florida players suspended for the entire 2017 season for the misuse of scholarship money at a bookstore, with some nine players total caught up in making improper charges on student IDs and selling said items for cash.  He was one of the four suspended players who returned to the team in late January.

Dan Mullen issues statement addressing bizarre confrontation involving a few of his Florida football players

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The boss of the University of Florida football program that’s had a rough last couple of days headlines-wise and image-wise has spoken regarding the latter of a pair of off-field incidents.

A report emerged earlier this week that six Gators football players — wide receivers Kadarius Toney (pictured), Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells as well as defensive tackle Kyree Campbell, tight end Kemore Gamble and quarterback Emory Jones — are facing university discipline following an on-campus confrontation in late May with a Gainesville-area gambler named Devante’ “Tay Bang” Zachery that involved airsoft guns, a frying pan, a baseball bat and rocks. After the report went viral Thursday, head coach Dan Mullen issued a statement addressing the development that essentially stated nothing of substance.

We were made aware of the incident when it occurred and immediately began following campus protocol. This has been an opportunity for us to educate our players about the dangers and negative perceptions that can occur when conflict arises, and how important honesty and good decision-making is.

At this point, it’s unclear what if any punishment any of the players will be facing from either the university or the football program.

This was actually the second incident involving airsoft/BB guns for two of the players.

In mid-July of 2016, Cleveland and Wells were arrested and originally charged with criminal mischief for damaging property and shooting a missile inside an occupied dwelling; both of those charges were felonies. The two allegedly shot BB guns at and around a dorm on the UF campus, causing more than $1,000 worth of damage.

Those charges were ultimately reduced to criminal mischief, and Bonnie & Clod were suspended for the 2016 opener.

Additionally, Wells was one of several Florida players suspended for the entire 2017 season for the misuse of scholarship money at a bookstore, with some nine players total caught up in making improper charges on student IDs and selling said items for cash.  He was one of the four suspended players who returned to the team in late January.

Report: Florida football players involved in confrontation with gambler named Tay Bang that involved airsoft guns, frying pan, rocks

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There’s a series of words we never thought would appear together in the same headline.

According to First Coast News, six Florida football players are facing university discipline following an on-campus confrontation in late May with a Gainesville-area gambler named Devante’ “Tay Bang” Zachery that involved airsoft guns, a frying pan, a baseball bat and rocks.  The beef originally stemmed from Zachery allegedly calling the football team “garbage” after he lost money betting on the Gators.

Per the report, “[w]ide receiver Kadarius Toney and defensive tackle Kyree Campbell were recommended to UF’s Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department for an ‘incident by holding and pointing what appears to be assault rifles (later determined to be airsoft rifles) at other individuals on campus.” Additionally, the website wrote, “[w]ide receivers Tyrie Cleveland, Rick Wells, tight end Kemore Gamble and quarterback Emory Jones were also recommended to the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department for lying to university police about the incident in question.”

Tight end C’yontai Lewis was also mentioned in First Coast News‘ report as having a “good relationship” with Zachery before ceasing that association, although it doesn’t appear he’s facing any university sanctions.

As for the confrontation that was the end result of the bad blood?  It was apparently straight out of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy.”

University police began their investigation after a witness called 911 in reference to a suspicious person. The witness said he saw 10 people arguing and believed they had guns. The witness added, “the weapons resemble assault rifles.”

The scene was captured on surveillance and cell phone video, the 17-page incident report states. The video shows “about 10–15 individuals, holding what appeared to be weapons,” according to the report.

Zachery, 21, and his friends were waiting for the football players near the dorms. The football players began to confront the group, but left in vehicles, the report states. As the group left, they could be heard yelling, “We coming back strapped,” the report states.

The other group returned and a confrontation ensued. One player reported the group had a baseball bat, a red laser being pointed at another player’s chest and another individual threatening “Come any closer, I’ll spray you.”

Zachery told police, he observed one football player holding “some sort of assault rifle and some others were [holding] rocks.” Police wrote, they didn’t believe Zachery’s story and thought he was minimizing the incidents he was describing, the report states.

According to the player, once they heard police sirens, and everyone left.

Video evidence also showed that one, unnamed football player was using a frying pan during the confrontation

Neither the university nor the football program have commented on the bizarre development.  It should be noted that none of the football players involved have been charged with any sort of crime.

Cleveland (pictured) led the Gators in receiving yards (410) and was second in receptions (22) last season, while Toney’s 15 catches for 152 yards were both fourth on the team.  Campbell played in nine games in 2017, while Gamble took a redshirt his true freshman season.  Jones was a four-star member of UF’s 2018 recruiting class.

As for Wells?  This issue could prove worrisome based on his recent off-field past.

Wells was one of several Florida players suspended for the entire 2017 season for the misuse of scholarship money at a bookstore, with some nine players total caught up in making improper charges on student IDs and selling said items for cash.  He was one of the four suspended players who returned to the team in late January.