Missouri freshman running back Damarea Crockett won’t play Friday against Arkansas after he was arrested early Sunday morning by University of Missouri police on suspicion of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
According to MU police Maj. Brian Weimer, officers found Crockett in a vehicle in a university lot on the east side of the Mizzou campus at 4:17 a.m. Sunday.
After he was arrested and processed, Crockett was issued a summons for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, and released on his recognizance.
First-year Tigers coach Barry Odom said Monday during his weekly news conference that Crockett would be suspended for Friday’s game against Arkansas.
“I’m aware of the incident involving Damarea,” Odom said. “With all the disciplinary issues, we address it internally. We’re going to handle it that way. But if we have an arrest during the season, they’re suspended for at least the next game.”
Odom said the team’s policy triggering an automatic suspension for an arrest has been communicated to his players.
According to MUPD, Crockett was not alone in the car, but he was the only person arrested. It’s unclear how many people were with Crockett or if any were teammates. Odom declined to answer if Crockett was with any other players, but confirmed he’s the only one facing suspension.
“He’s the only one that had the disciplinary issue,” Odom said.
Crockett, a freshman from Little Rock, Ark., rushed for a season-high 225 yards in 24 carries Saturday in the Tigers’ 63-37 loss at Tennessee. That broke Brad Smith’s freshman rushing record for a single game. Crockett has rushed for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, breaking two more of Smith’s freshman-season rushing records.
“Damarea’s done a lot of great things, and he’s going to have a tremendous future,” Odom said. “He realizes one decision obviously affects this football program and affects him. … It’s frustrating that you have those, but that’s also life and that’s being in this role on leading and guiding young guys to make decisions 24 hours a day that affect our program.”
Junior running back Ish Witter and sophomore Nate Strong will get the bulk of the carries with Crockett out. Odom also said Alex Ross could see an expanded role with the offense.
Crockett was still listed as the “or” starter with Witter on the depth chart for the game with the Razorbacks, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on CBS from Memorial Stadium in Columbia.
Odom said the depth chart for the Arkansas game was finalized “before I had all the information with the incident. Until I got all the facts, I didn’t know what we were going to do.”
Mizzou’s other true freshman from Arkansas, defensive tackle Markell Utsey, was injured against Tennessee. He did not return after spraining his left knee.
Odom said results of Utsey’s MRI aren’t back yet, but he will not play against Arkansas.