PORT RICHEY — Byronell Arline, the most prolific high school football running back ever in Pasco County, is back in trouble with the law.
Arline, 19, was one of three people who jumped a man at Regency Park Apartments in Port Richey in July, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported on Thursday. Deputies said Arline and two others — David J. McDulin, 22, and Bruce Wilkinson, 22 — punched the victim several times and took his wallet, containing more than $500. McDulin was arrested in December. Wilkinson was arrested in January. Both men are known gang members, authorities said. The victim was treated at a hospital for his injuries, the Sheriff's Office said.
Arline is a former Ridgewood High School football standout who graduated in 2008. He ran for a Pasco County record 5,279 yards during his prep career. He frequently talked of wanting to get a football scholarship and to make it to an all-star game.
His father, Calvin Curtis Wood, spent 11 years in an Alabama prison on a drug offense and warned his son to stay out of trouble. Arline told the Times in previous stories that those visits to his father kept him straight — that it made him work hard, so he could get out and go far from home, toward his dream of success.
His grades didn't qualify him for a Division 1-A college, but Arline was accepted to a junior college in Kansas. He returned home after one week.
In September, he was arrested in New Port Richey on a felony charge of crack cocaine possession. His case was transferred to drug court, where — if he completed the program — he could have the charge dismissed.
His future was bruised, but it could have been salvaged. Chris Taylor, his coach at Ridgewood, tried to get Arline enrolled at Pasco-Hernando Community College. They last spoke a few months ago. Taylor heard about Arline's arrest Thursday morning.
"It's sad to see because he really was a good kid," Taylor said. "Not to say he's not now, but I just think he's making some bad choices."
Taylor said he still wants to support Arline and to help him.
"I've had such a great relationship with him. I don't think I'll ever get to a point where you wash your hands of an individual that needs help. Obviously I'll take a look at it and see if at all I can help him and go from there," he said. "I don't think (walking away from him) is going to help him at all.
"That's not the way our relationship was built."
Arline, who lives in Port Richey, was released from the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday on $10,513 bail. He is charged with strong-arm robbery and failing to appear in court for a previous marijuana possession charge. He was arrested Jan. 6 in New Port Richey after a deputy reported finding marijuana in his vehicle. He had been pulled over in a traffic stop for a tag light that wasn't working, the Sheriff's Office said.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.