- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Arkansas coach John L. Smith said three players who were suspended indefinitely after being arrested this month for burglary are currently not part of the team or enrolled in summer school.
Receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, and tight end Andrew Peterson were arrested May 12 and have been charged with felony residential burglary. According to arrest reports, the three stole textbooks, DVDs, laptops and more than $4,800 in cash from a university dormitory.
Hearings are set for June 15.
"It's a felony and it's a serious, serious thing," Smith said. "They're not a part of this football team until this thing gets cleared up, or they never (will) be a part.
"If they can't correct it, then you have to correct it for them; that's the way it is going to be. It's in the legal channels, and we're just going to have to wait and see if they can correct the issue."
Smith, who was given a 10-month contract after taking over for Bobby Petrino, might have the interim tag next to his name, but he's making sure his players know just how much power he truly has. And he's using it appropriately.
Of the three players suspended, Wade was expected to make the biggest impact in Arkansas' offense this fall. The Razorbacks lost three NFL wide receivers, but having Wade and potential All-SEC performer Cobi Hamilton back meant the passing game wasn't expected to take much of a step back at all.
While Wade only caught eight passes for 62 yards, the coaches tabbed him as one of the more dynamic receivers on this roster. He's speedy and slippery, and is a very nice complement to Hamilton in the offense. Last fall, he was primarily used in the return game, but Arkansas' offense is certainly better with him in the lineup, and Smith knows that. But he also knows he has to send a message that this sort of behavior won't be tolerated, and he won't be taken advantage of.
Kudos to Smith.
Three other Arkansas players have been arrested since March, and Smith has made it clear to the team that this off-field silliness just won't fly under his watch.
"We tried to explain to them what's going to be accepted and what's not going to be accepted, and what are going to be the consequences," he said. "We're going to demand that they do the right things.
"If (the message) hasn't got across, it certainly will before it's all said and done."