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10 Florida Gators suspended vs. Michigan, including Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway

SB Nation logo SB Nation 8/30/2017 Morgan Moriarty
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida announced Wednesday that starting running back Jordan Scarlett is suspended ahead of the team’s season opener against Michigan on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). He’s one of 10 suspended Gators, along with top wide receiver Antonio Callaway.

The suspensions of Scarlett, receiver Rick Wells, and freshman receiver James Robinson are in addition to seven others that were announced earlier in August. Those were Callaway, offensive linemen Kadeem Telfort and Richerd Desir-Jones, linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller, and defensive linemen Jordan Smith and Keivonnis Davis.

"We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” McElwain said after the first seven suspensions were announced. “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."

According to the Associated Press, the reasoning behind the previously announced suspensions involved “misusing school-issued funds.” ESPN further reported that the players bought items with their university student IDs at the school bookstore and then sold them for cash.

Scarlett ran for 889 yards and six touchdowns last year. He tops Florida’s running back depth chart, with Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson behind him.

Callaway is one of Florida’s most dangerous weapons on offense, accounting for 721 yards and three touchdowns, along with 218 yards returning. In May, Callaway was cited for marijuana possession, but he was not suspended, and McElwain stated he was dealing with the situation internally, without a public announcement of discipline.

Here’s Alligator Army’s take on the situation, after the initial round of suspensions:

Of the seven players suspended, Callaway is by far the most important to the Gators’ chances of winning football games. The junior playmaker was Florida’s leading receiver in 2017 and is regarded as one of the better upperclassmen wide receivers in college football, with his future likely to include a selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But a pattern of poor choices on Callaway’s part will give NFL teams doubts about making that selection. Whatever led to this suspension follows that citation for possession and, far more seriously, a much-publicized offseason suspension in 2016 stemming from an alleged sexual assault that led to Callaway being cleared through a controversial Title IX hearing that Callaway’s alleged victim boycotted over claims of impropriety.

The team’s leading receiver has missed time before. He was suspended from the team, along with former quarterback Treon Harris, in Jan. 2016 in the wake of a sexual assault claim made against the two. He did not practice with the team that spring, but returned to classes during the summer and participated fully in fall practice.

Desir-Jones saw playing time in two games last season on the offensive line, but switched to defensive line this season. Miller, Houston, and Smith are freshmen, but Davis earned five starts last season.

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