Charlie Bernard Fuller, left, Jadar Kentrell Johnson, middle, former Clemson football players,and Quaven Maurice Ferguson, former Duke football player, appear in Clemson Municipal Court in Clemson on Thursday.
Ken Ruinard/Independent Mail
Arrests of Clemson football players have been relatively rare occurrences in Dabo Swinney’s nine-plus seasons as the Tigers’ head coach.
Since Swinney assumed the program’s reins midway through the 2008 season, seven Clemson football players have been arrested, not counting former players such as Jadar Johnson and C.J. Fuller, who were arrested on Wednesday and charged with armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime by Clemson police.
Swinney did not offer a statement on the arrests of his former players on Thursday, but one could come later, according to Tim Bourret, the school’s assistant athletic director for football communications.
“He would like to hear more facts of the case,” Bourret said.
Swinney repeatedly has said that his staff attempts to target only “high character guys” when recruiting, and the numbers support that he has been largely successful in that pursuit.
For comparison’s sake, Florida State leads the Atlantic Coast Conference with 28 player arrests since 2010, according to the web site arrestnation.com
Only five ACC programs – Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College and Georgia Tech – have had fewer arrests than Clemson during that time span.
The University of Georgia has had 40 player arrests since 2010 while defending national champion Alabama has logged 30 player arrests in the past eight years.
The University of South Carolina has had 10; Furman University five, but none since 2011.
For Clemson, star wide receiver Sammy Watkins was arrested on campus in May 2012 and charged with possession of a controlled substance and simple possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors.
“I am mad and hurt by the poor decision that Sammy Watkins made,” Swinney said at the time. “He is a good young man who has been a model student, citizen, player and teammate. This is a reminder that good people make poor decisions. There are consequences for your actions and there will be in this case.”
Watkins was suspended by Swinney for the first two games of the 2012 season, missing games against Auburn and Ball State.
In March of 2016, redshirt freshman cornerback Kaleb Chalmers was arrested in Clinton and charged with simple drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He was dismissed a week later by Swinney.
Kicker Aamon Lakip was suspended for the first three games of 2015 by Swinney following Lakip’s June arrest for DUI and possession of cocaine.
In May of 2015, defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko was dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged with one count of financial transaction fraud.
In 2012, wide receiver Joe Craig was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence and dismissed from the team three days later.
In 2011, freshman offensive lineman Brandon Thomas was arrested and charged with public disorderly conduct.
In May of 2010, defensive lineman Jamie Cumbie was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for an incident in Clemson. He was dismissed from the team.
FOOTBALL PLAYER ARRESTS SINCE 2010
Florida State 28
Virginia Tech 14
Notre Dame 14
North Carolina 11
South Carolina 10
N.C. State 8
Wake Forest 3
Boston College 2
Georgia Tech 2