Arkansas coach John L. Smith announced Thursday that the three players arrested in May for burglary will not be a part of the Razorbacks' football team this fall.
That means receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, and tight end Andrew Peterson won't have a chance to help the Hogs as they look to go on multiple title runs this year. All three were charged with felony residential burglary after, according to arrest reports, they were accused of stealing textbooks, DVDs, laptops and more than $4,800 in cash from a university dorm.
Smith said during SEC media days in Hoover, Ala., last week that any player who didn't appear in Arkansas' media guide wouldn't be a part of the football team this fall. Well, the three were not in it, and on Thursday, Smith reiterated that same message to members of the media.
"Apparently I was not clear the last time," Smith said. "I said, 'Read the press guide. If you see his name in the press guide he would have a chance.' If you don’t see it there then you won’t see him. Read the press guide, right?"
The biggest hit is the loss of Wade, who had the potential to be a dynamic player both on offense and special teams. Wade could have lined up in multiple spots on the field for Arkansas on offense, but figured to do most of his damage in the slot. He's fast and slippery, making him a valuable target for Tyler Wilson, who watched as three of his top receivers from last year departed for the NFL. He was also first in line to replace Joe Adams at punt returner.
While Wade bided his time last year, he made significant strides this spring and was one of the stars of Arkansas' spring game, catching six passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He would have been a great complement to Cobi Hamilton in the offense and would have provided the Hogs with a very dangerous option over the middle and down the field.
But Wade, along with Humphrey and Peterson, couldn't commit to following the plan Smith laid out for the three to follow if they planned to return to the team this fall.
"That's what they're going to have to do," Smith said during the 2012 SEC meetings in Destin, Fla. "It's a matter of you getting up -- you're not a member of this football team -- and you earn your way back onto this team. It's going to be very, very hard and they understand that. And it's going to be demanding."
Apparently, it was too demanding.
Smith never elaborated on what the players would have to do, but he made it very clear that they would have to follow the plan precisely if they wanted to sniff a chance to play this fall. That didn't happen and this now becomes yet another distraction that Arkansas' football team has to deal with in a year in which the Hogs could be a major player in the SEC title race. Losing Wade certainly wasn't what Arkansas wanted, but finding some closure to this is something the team needed heading into fall camp.
They won't avoid the questions about all three, but at least they can devise game plans without having to wonder if any of the three would be back this fall.
It's not like Arkansas doesn't have the talent to replace Wade, but he was expected to be a special part of this offense because of his versatility. His absence certainly will be felt, but all Arkansas can do now is move on.
Smith left the door open for all three to return at some point, but when that will be is unknown.
"There's always a possibility down the road [next year] but I would not expect any of those guys to be here," he said.