Florida starting RB Jordan Scarlett suspended, bringing total to 10 out for opener vs. Michigan

By Adam Silverstein
August 30, 2017
Florida starting RB Jordan Scarlett suspended, bringing total to 10 out for opener vs. Michigan

Image Credit: UAA

Suspensions for the Florida Gators going into their 2017 season opener against the Michigan Wolverines have now reached double digits as head coach Jim McElwain announced Wednesday that junior starting running back Jordan Scarlett is one of three additional players who will miss the game.

Scarlett and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells join freshman WR James Robinson, whose suspension was announced Monday, as the three newest players sitting out. They link up with the seven previously suspended players — a group led by junior star WR Antonio Callaway — to make 10 Florida football players who will not make the trip with the team to Arlington, Texas.

According to the Associated Press‘ Mark Long, Scarlett and Wells are suspended for the same reasons as the prior seven suspensions, misuse of school-appropriated scholarship funds. Robinson was suspended after being cited for possession of marijuana.

McElwain said in a press conference Wednesday that Scarlett, Wells and the other seven players will be suspended until the situation is resolved.

“As you know, one thing I will never do is look the other way, try to hide something,” he said. “The guys on our team understand their responsibility. With that, people think of the distractions and that type of thing. And yet, it’s an opportunity for more guys to go and play and play their tails off.”

He added: “We’re not afraid to make a decision, and we’re not [going] to hide anything. At the end of the day, that’s actually a positive because people know that, no matter what it is, we’re going to handle it. We’re not going to put it aside. We’re not going to enable. We’re going to teach lessons. Ultimately, in doing that, we’re better off for it.”

The loss of Scarlett is a the biggest hit yet for the Gators as the three-down back was expected to tote the rock early and often on Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Scarlett earned the starting job during the 2016 season, proving he could be the lone No. 1 back while picking up 889 yards and six touchdowns on 179 carries. He entered 2017 ready to carry a big load.

Instead, Florida will go with sophomore Lamical Perine in his place. Perine averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2016 but also proved to have sure hands, averaging 17.9 yards per reception. Redshirt senior Mark Thompson and true freshmen Malik Davis and Adarius Lemons are in line to get carries behind Perine. Redshirt senior WR Brandon Powell and other playmakers could factor into the equation.

With Scarlett and Callaway sidelined, the Gators are now without their leading rusher and receiver from a year ago entering perhaps the biggest season opener in program history. Of the other eight players suspended, only junior defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis was expected to see extended action.


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