GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — The beginning of the NCAA football season is still a few weeks away but one SEC team is already fighting an uphill battle.
Florida has suspended troubled receiver Antonio Callaway and six other players for the team’s season opener against Michigan.
Defensive end Keivonnis Davis, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller, defensive lineman Jordan Smith and offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort also won’t play Sept. 2 against the Wolverines in Arlington, Texas.
The players were suspended for misusing school-issued funds, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because Florida did not release details of the suspensions.
“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. “Action has been taken: They have missed some practice and will miss the Michigan game. We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward.”
Being without Callaway could be big since he’s the team’s top offensive playmaker. In two seasons, the junior from Miami has 89 catches for 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns.
But his talent has been overshadowed by his troubles.
Callaway pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia in May and was suspended for the spring semester in 2016 amid sexual battery allegations. He admitted in court documents that he smoked marijuana, though he was eventually cleared of the battery allegation by a Title IX investigation.
Callaway was internally disciplined following the marijuana citation this spring.
Davis was expected to be a key contributor in Florida’s defensive line rotation. He had 27 tackles, 1½ sacks and a forced fumble in 2016.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)