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As attention shifts to the 2018 season and what new Florida football coach Dan Mullen will be able to do with the roster he inherits, the question continues to linger about the future of the nine Gators players suspended for the credit card fraud matter.
Star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, top running back Jordan Scarlett, freshman linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller and reserve receiver Rick Wells, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones and defensive end Keivonnis Davis all received pre-trial intervention and had their court dates.
Freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Smith faced too many recommended charges to qualify for pre-trial intervention.
All nine players missed the entire 2017 season.
The latest Gators Mailbag Question of the Day is a common one, focusing on whether any of those guys play football at Florida again.
Andy R. asks … “Will [Mullen] have a say with the future of the players that were suspended?”
Beyond the legal implications, the suspended players still face University code of conduct obstacles before a decision about their futures would even reach the desk of new football coach Dan Mullen.
But athletic director Scott Stricklin said he doesn’t want to throw that all on his new coach.
“I’ll be a part of the conversation. They have the judicial thing going through on campus. I’ll be a part of that conversation. Dan, it’s kind of been dropped in his lap. We’ll work well together on this,” Stricklin said.
Mullen will surely have input, and he had some strong comments about the way he intends to handle discipline at Florida moving forward.
“Discipline is really important to me as a program and doing things right,” he said. “… I don’t have a book that I just go rely on. I want to handle every incident individually because there’s usually more to the story than just this one thing happened. I like to find out what happened, find out why it happened and find out what the effect is on that young person’s life is as we’re applying discipline. A lot of it comes to, is it a mistake or is it a core value issue? … Was it something that you intentionally went out to do the wrong thing? That’s a much bigger problem.
“But I know that I will always investigate everything thoroughly and handle discipline pretty severely because I think it’s important for our team to understand the standards and expectations of this team.”
Those comments will be interesting to revisit after whatever decision is made.
It doesn’t stand to reason that Mullen is going to want to absorb the baggage of repeat off-the-field offender Callaway. Scarlett may well decide to move on to the next level. And the rest, well, it could be a case-by-case basis.
It remains a wait-and-see matter.
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