Star WR Antonio Callaway one of seven Gators suspended for Michigan opener
Callaway is one of Florida's top playmakers and the only starter suspended
Among the suspended players is star wide receiver Antonio Callaway. The other suspended players are defensive lineman Jordan Smith, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, linebacker James Houston, offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones and linebacker Ventrell Miller.
"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. We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward," coach Jim McElwain said in a statement.
Of the seven suspended players, Callaway is the lone starter. He is arguably Florida's top returning playmaker as he's been the team's leading receiver in each of the past two seasons. Callaway hauled in 54 catches for 721 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, plus 35 grabs for 678 yards and four receiving touchdowns as a freshman in 2015. He also contributes in the return game. Last season, he had two punts returned for a score.
Florida did not announce a reason for the suspensions, though the players were allegedly misusing funds provided to them by the school as part of their scholarships, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports. The players bought electronics with funds meant to be used for school -- a practice not uncommon among student-athletes -- but then allegedly sold these electronics and told UF their cards had been stolen or lost. Goldkamp further reports "that the purchases have been either returned or the school funds used will be paid back by the athletes." The amount of the purchases is not known, nor is the length of the suspensions.
Callaway's suspension is the latest in a growing list of off-field issues for the junior -- though past incidents have not resulted in suspensions. He received a misdemeanor marijuana citation in May and admitted during a Title IX hearing last year that he was under the influence of marijuana during an alleged sexual assault.
Florida ranks 16th in the. Michigan comes in at No. 13. They will open the season at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2.
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