JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cecil Coltrane, a Jacksonville University (JU) football player, turned himself in to police Friday afternoon after planting marijuana in his teammate's room.
While the framing victim’s name may be Small, freshman JU running back Rudell Small certainly avoided some ‘big’ trouble. JU Athletic Director Alan Verlander says in all his years he's never heard of someone planting drugs to get the starting job. But that's exactly what the university says happened.
Last Thursday, JU security got a tip that there was marijuana in Small's dorm room. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office showed up and arrested him. Then on Tuesday, JU investigators say Small's teammate and backup running-back Cecil Coltrane admitted he was the one who planted the pot in Small's room.
On the football field, Small's teamates say they knew he wasn't guilty all along.
Verlandersays one interesting aspect about Small is the kind of man he is on andoff the field. Verlander compared him to Emmitt Smith, saying, likeSmith, he doesn't run the fastest 40 and may not bench the most weight,but his heart on the field more than makes up for it.
“It goesback to the character he possesses and his family brought him up with,”says Verlander. “He just wants to be a normal college kid and get onthe field and hit someone and win games.”
JU has a new headcoach this year, Kirwin Bell. Bell came to JU from Trinity Christian inOcala where he coached Small for the past 4 years. Verlander says thesecond this story broke, Bell told him he knew Small had nothing to dowith it.
As of Wednesday night, Small was back on the footballteam and back in class. Coltrane has been kicked off the Dolphins squadand he's currently suspended from JU.
In Small's first start ina Dolphins uniform, he tied the university's record for most touchdownsin one game, scoring 5 times and running for more than 100 yards.