Freshman linebacker Antoine Brooks, who was suspended indefinitely along with Harrison and Turner before kickoff of last week’s loss to Ohio State, has not been charged and has been reinstated to the team. Brooks will travel with the team to Nebraska for its game this weekend.
According to University of Maryland police, three students reported being struck by BB pellets in three separate locations on campus on the evening of Nov. 6. The first incident occurred at 7:25 p.m., when a student reported that he was hit by a BB pellet while riding a bike on Paint Branch Drive between the Kim Engineering and Bimolecular Science buildings. Roughly an hour later, a second student reported that an hour earlier he had been walking with a female student on a sidewalk between Stadium Drive and Ellicott Hall when he was also struck with what was believed to be a BB. Later that evening, a female student also reported being struck with what was believed to be a BB while she walked with a male student between Paint Branch Drive and Technology Drive.
University police issued a campus-wide alert that shots were being fired. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents. University police, who determined an airsoft weapon was used in the incident, brought the charges against Harrison and Turner, both 19, on Tuesday.
After an investigation revealed Harrison and Turner as potential suspects late last week, Maryland Coach DJ Durkin announced that both players and Brooks were indefinitely suspended less than an hour before kickoff of last Saturday’s 62-3 loss to Ohio State.
“Those guys violated the student-athlete code of conduct. I have tremendous respect for this university and for Dr. Loh on down and the great people we make up this community,” Durkin said after the loss to Ohio State, referring to Wallace D. Loh, the university president. “Certainly we take those things very seriously. That’s how they’re dealt with.
“I also have a tremendous amount of respect and love for those guys that are involved. I love those guys like my own. It’s tough both ways there, so we’ll certainly learn from it … you won’t find better guys, young men, than those three. We’ll put our arms around them. What you do with people you love is you discipline them and hold them accountable.”
While the status of both players remains in limbo, Durkin called the absence of Harrison “a significant loss” for the offense, which has featured the freshman running back in its up-tempo system all season. Harrison, a former DeMatha star, is 57 yards from breaking the school’s freshman rushing record of 689 yards set by LaMont Jordan in 1997. Harrison, who became the first freshman running back in school history to score touchdowns in each of his four games, is the team’s second-leading rusher and averaged 7.2 yards per carry through the first nine games of the season. He was named Big Ten freshman of the week for a breakout performance in a 28-17 win over Michigan State in October, when he rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
While Turner and Brooks haven’t had as much of an impact as Harrison during their first seasons, both are valued members of a freshman class that has been celebrated for contributing to Maryland’s early-season success and are considered key pieces to the program’s future. Turner had caught two passes for 16 yards in a reserve role on offense and was a special teams contributor. Brooks, also a local product from DuVal High in Prince George’s County, has appeared in four games and made four tackles as a reserve on defense and special teams.
This marks the third time this season that Durkin has either upheld or administered suspensions for players. In August, he announced that senior running back Wes Brown would serve the remainder of his three-game suspension that was levied last season after he violated the student-athlete code of conduct. Durkin also suspended redshirt freshman linebacker Isaiah Davis one game for committing a late hit on Penn State kicker Joey Julius in Maryland’s 38-14 loss in October.