Thursday, January 14, 2010
Former Spartan Leggett pleads guilty
By ESPN.com staff
Former Michigan State running back Ashton Leggett pleaded guilty earlier today to two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery, while a more serious charge of conspiracy to commit assault was dropped against him as part of a plea agreement.
The pretrial hearings for the eight other current or former Michigan State players facing assault and conspiracy charges were postponed today. Leggett, who appeared in six games for the Spartans in 2009, since has transferred to Illinois State.
He apologized for punching two students during a Nov. 22 altercation at a campus residence hall and told a judge that the players "didn't fully know we'd jeopardize our future like this."
An attorney for Spartans cornerback Chris L. Rucker told reporters that his client will plead not guilty to the charges. The attorney for former Michigan State safety Roderick Jenrette, one of two players dismissed from the team after the incident, told reporters that prosecutors have offered his client a plea deal.
Don't be surprised if several players agree to the same terms as Leggett, who could face up to 93 days in jail and $1,000 in fines but also might avoid jail time.
It will be interesting to see how Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio reacts after the legal process has concluded. The suspended players still on the MSU roster attended a recent team meeting, and the coaches "will make decisions based on what happens at a later date."
As the Detroit Free Press' Drew Sharp writes today, Dantonio can't afford more mistakes from these players. The coach got totally burned by reinstating Glenn Winston last summer -- a very questionable decision at the time -- and needs these players to stay out of trouble.