GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida has suspended star wide receiver Antonio Callaway and six other players for its season opener against Michigan, the program announced Sunday.
In addition to Callaway, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Smith, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones and freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller will miss the Sept. 2 game.
“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing. Action has been taken — they have missed some practice and will miss the Michigan game,” Gators coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. “We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward.”
No official reason was specified for the suspensions, but the website The Read Optional and 247Sports’ GatorBait.net reported the discipline is for misuse of school-issued funds provided to players as part of their scholarship agreements. The report states the players used the funds to buy electronics, which some players sold and then reported the cards stolen.
Rumors had been circling about the situation Saturday.
Callaway is the the biggest loss for the Gators, and it’s another setback for the talented junior wide receiver who continues to find trouble off the field.
McElwain already was facing questions about whether he’d suspend his star playmaker after Callaway was cited for marijuana possession during a traffic stop in May. Callaway pleaded no contest to possession of paraphernalia and accepted a fine.
McElwain had indicated during the team’s preseason media day that he did not expect any players — his star receiver included — to miss the opener.
This latest incident changed that, though.
Callaway led Florida with 54 receptions for 721 yards and 3 touchdowns as a sophomore last season.
As for the other suspended players, Davis is in the Gators’ rotation at defensive end after tallying 1.5 sacks last season and Telfort was pushing for a backup role at tackle.
McElwain already was scheduled to meet with reporters at 12:15 p.m. ET on Monday.