Purdue fans who went to bed Monday night feeling hopeful about the 2012 team and a potential breakthrough season woke up to some bad news Tuesday.
Starting middle linebacker Dwayne Beckford has been indefinitely suspended following an arrest Monday night, his latest brush with the law. Beckford is the Boilers' leading returning tackler with 91 stops in 2011, his second season as a starter.
"It's unfortunate that Dwayne allegedly violated some of the terms of his probationary status," Boilers head coach Danny Hope said in a prepared statement released late Monday. "Once we examine all the details that led to today's development, we will make a decision on his long-term status with the team."
Tippecanoe County court records show that Beckford was arrested by the West Lafayette Police Department. Details of what led to his arrest were not immediately available Monday night, but Beckford has already been charged in Tippecanoe Superior Court 4 with possession of paraphernalia and possession of a synthetic drug. The possession of paraphernalia charge is a Class D felony because Beckford has at least one other prior conviction for it, from August 2011 in Tippecanoe County.
As of midnight, Beckford was being held on three separate "no bond" warrants. That's because the Tippecanoe County prosecutor’s office filed paperwork to revoke his probation for a still-open possession of marijuana case, also filed in Superior Court 4. Judge Gregory Donat granted the prosecutor’s request.
Translation: Beckford is in big trouble. And he has run out of chances at Purdue.
He has been arrested four times since June 2011. Beckford was suspended for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in December and had his scholarship revoked. He missed spring ball before being reinstated in May.
There's only one decision for Hope to make here. Beckford can't stay out of trouble, and an arrest six days before the season opener against Eastern Kentucky is simply inexcusable. You can't have that from your starting middle linebacker. He has got to go.
Linebacker is Purdue's weakest position on defense, and Beckford's absence accentuates the team's depth issues. Will Lucas and Robert Maci occupy the other two starting spots. Senior Antwon Higgs likely will replace Beckford in the starting lineup, but Sean Robinson, a converted quarterback, is the third stringer at middle linebacker.
Purdue has had quite a few off-field issues this year, although most are relatively minor and have been resolved. Beckford's situation is different. He has run out of chances, and Purdue must now move forward without him.