Suspended Mitchell facing misdemeanor marijuana charge
The indefinite suspension of USF football player Terrence Mitchell announced Monday is likely connected to a court date he faces next week on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.
Mitchell, 22, was stopped by Temple Terrace police on March 2 about four miles south of USF's campus and issued a notice to appear in Hillsborough County court Monday for his arraignment. According to the arrest report, the officer making a traffic stop at 11:54 a.m. smelled "the apparent plain odor of cannabis" upon contact with Mitchell, and when he took out his wallet to show ID, "a bag containing a green leafy substance was observed." Mitchell stated he had the bag in his pocket and was arrested, issued the notice to appear and released on his own recognizance, according to the report.
It's believed to be his first brush with the law, and as such would typically result in only six months of probation and community service. Mitchell's arrest in itself would not trigger any penalty from the substance abuse policy for USF's athletic department, but he could face a suspension from coach Willie Taggart at the start of the 2013 season.
Mitchell was USF's second-leading receiver as a sophomore in 2012, catching 31 passes for 414 yards in 11 games; he missed much of the 2011 season recovering from a severe concussion and took a medical redshirt. Taggart said Monday that USF's coaches had made the decision to switch him to cornerback this spring before his suspension; he played defensive back at Hillsborough High but has only played receiver in his three seasons with the Bulls.
Taggart announced Monday that three players were suspended to open spring practice: Mitchell, receiver Chris Dunkley, who has been suspended since September after an arrest on a domestic violence battery charge for which he has entered into a pre-trial intervention program, and backup running back Bradley Battles, who has had multiple suspensions over the last two seasons. USF had no additional comment Tuesday when asked about Mitchell's charge.
"They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there," Taggart said Monday of the suspended players. "They can be back. They're not just going to get on this team. You don't just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they're doing their part to be on this football team."