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.