Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison, projected to start at middle linebacker this year for the Florida Gators, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly punching a bouncer at a Gainesville drinking establishment.
According to the Orlando Sentinel (h/t College Football Talk):
A Gainesville Police Department report stated Morrison became "irate" over the cover charge to enter the Kava Bar and Hookah Lounge and began to argue with the bouncer.
Per the report, Morrison said, "Do you know who I am. I am a UF football player. I am Antonio!"
Morrison, who is listed at 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, then punched the man in the left side of the head before leaving the scene.
UPDATE: Monday, Jun. 17 at 5:00 p.m. ET by Brian Leigh
According to Kevin Brockway of GatorSports.com, Morrison was released from jail in the late afternoon on Monday.
Morrison's attorney, Huntley Johnson, said he wants to get the case cleared up within two months. As of this moment, he also said they would enter a plea of not guilty.
As they start talking to witnesses, though, that plea could be changed.
---End of Update---
Despite telling police that the incident "wasn't a big deal," Morrison was later charged with first-degree simple battery—a second-class misdemeanor. The 19-year-old linebacker, two years short of the legal drinking age, also admitted that he was intoxicated at the time of the fracas.
Morrison started three games as a true freshman last season, earning (along with four other linebackers) First-Team All-SEC Freshman honors. He finished the season with 34 total tackles and one sack despite limited playing time.
That one sack was also a forced fumble, and one of the biggest plays of Florida's 2012 season. Trailing Florida State 20-16 in the fourth quarter, Morrison leveled Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel on a scramble, jarring the ball loose and altering the momentum of the game.
Florida would recover, score on the next play (a 37-yard run by Mike Gillislee) and go on to win by 11.
In 2013, Morrison was—and until further notice, still is—slated to take over for Jon Bostic in the middle of Florida's vaunted defense. The 50th overall pick in April's NFL draft, Bostic left a massive leadership void in the Gators' defensive unit. Morrison is being counted on to soften that blow, and after this incident, it's safe to say he's off to a bad start.
Per College Football Talk, Florida has yet to comment on the arrest or declare any formal repercussions. Morrison is unlikely to miss too much time, though, and hopefully, come next offseason, he'll have played himself into a more "recognizable" figure on campus.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!