Just two days before Rutgers opens its 2015 Big Ten season, a handful of players found a way to bring more problems to the university's already scandalized football program.
Five current Rutgers football players, including the cornerback at the center of a university-led academic investigation into head coach Kyle Flood, were arrested Thursday for assaulting a group of individuals in April, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office and the New Brunswick Police Department announced. Another player, defensive back Andre Boggs, was charged in two separate robberies.
All five players have been suspended by the team.
The statement said one of the victims of the attack was a 19-year-old Rutgers student who had his jaw broken in the unprovoked attack.
The players charged are Nadir Barnwell, 20, Ruhann Peele, 22 (both of Piscataway); Razohnn Gross, 20, of Franklin Park, Delon Stephenson, 22 of Sayreville, and Boggs, according to NJ.com.
Daryl Stephenson, 23, Delon's brother and a former student at Rutgers, remains at large, according to the statement.
Barnwell’s name was already in the center of a controversy at Rutgers. The school is investigating if Flood illegally contacted a professor about Barnwell’s academic standing. According to two school officials, the cornerback was ruled academically ineligible in the spring.
Thursday morning at practice, Flood said he expects to coach Saturday’s opener against Norfolk State. That same practice was attended by AD Julie Hermann and several police officers.
Hermann issued a statement saying the players had been suspended.
"The students involved are currently suspended from our program,'' Hermann said. "We continue to monitor the situation. We will have no further comment as this is a pending legal matter.''
According to the press release, the probe began following a home invasion on April 26, where three masked men forced their way into the home and stole an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana from five students at gunpoint.
Police eventually arrested Tejay Johnson, of Egg Harbor Township, and they later linked him to a home invasion that occurred on April 27 and one on May 5 in a dorm room on the Livingston campus.
Police say Johnson and the five football players surrounded a group of at least four other individuals, including a Rutgers student, and assaulted them during an incident on Delafield Street on April 25.
The six were charged Thursday with aggravated assault, riot, and conspiracy to commit a riot.
In May, cornerback Darian Dailey was arrested for armed robbery in Florida.