Thursday, June 28, 2012
Three Arkansas players plead not guilty
By Edward Aschoff
Arkansas wide receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson pleaded not guilty to felony charges tied to the burglary of their fellow students' dorm room.
The players entered their pleas on Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court.
Interim coach John L. Smith released a statement on Wednesday concerning the three players:
“Marquel Wade, Maudrecus Humphrey and Andrew Peterson are not members of our football team and once the legal system has ruled on their status we will determine their status with the team.”
Smith is staying consistent with what he said during the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., when he stated that the statuses of the three players wouldn't change until the legal system played out.
Wade was expected to be a very important part of Arkansas' offense this fall. He didn't put up a ton of numbers as a freshman in 2011, but there's no denying that Wade has a chance to be a very dynamic player in the Razorbacks' offense, which lost three wide receivers to the NFL. He has tremendous speed and athleticism and could be used all over the field, including the return game.
If these players are found not guilty and do return to Arkansas' football team, you can expect some sort of punishment from Smith, both publicly and behind closed doors. He's already said that he's devised a plan that the three will have to agree to and abide by if they do make it back onto the team.
Here's what Smith said in Destin about the plan for the players:
"That's what they're going to have to do. 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."
But if they are found guilty, Smith will have a big decision on his hands. Dismissing these players would leave holes on Arkansas' roster, especially with Wade, but it would show that Smith isn't going to tolerate such foolishness while he's in charge. He won't be taken advantage of.
Regardless of what happens with these players and Arkansas, this should be a pretty interesting situation for the Razorbacks.