Georgia star Jalen Carter charged with racing in fatal wreck

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

ATLANTA – Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, projected as one of the top players in next month’s NFL draft, has been charged with reckless driving and racing in conjunction with the crash that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has issued an arrest warrant, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, that alleges Carter was racing his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against the 2021 Ford Expedition driven by the recruiting staffer, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, which led to the Jan. 15 wreck.

Carter had been due in Indianapolis on Wednesday for the NFL’s scouting combine, and he is expected to address the arrest warrant when he returns to Athens, according to Lt. Shaun Barnett of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

“It is my understanding that Mr. Carter is making arrangements to turn himself in,” Barnett said in an e-mail to the AP.

Carter, one of six players who was not present Wednesday for scheduled media interviews at the combine, issued a statement on his Twitter account saying he expects to be “fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”

“This morning I received a telephone call from the Athens, Georgia, police department informing me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing,” Carter said. “Numerous media reports also have circulated this morning containing inaccurate information concerning the tragic events of January 15, 2023. It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and to make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented. There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”

The crash occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony, killing LeCroy and Willock.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart expressed his concern about the charges in a statement issued Wednesday.

“The charges announced today are deeply concerning, especially as we are still struggling to cope with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community,” Smart said.

“We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy.”

According to the arrest warrant, the investigation by Athens police found that LeCroy and Carter were operating their vehicles “in a manner consistent with racing” after leaving downtown Athens at about 2:30 a.m.

The warrant says evidence shows the vehicles switched lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes, overtook other motorists and drove at high rates of speed “in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other.”

Police determined LeCroy’s Expedition was traveling at about 104 mph (167 kph) shortly before the crash. The warrant says LeCroy’s blood-alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Willock, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. LeCroy was transported to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith became emotional on Wednesday when talking about Willock at the scouting combine.

“This is the first time I’m talking about it,” Smith said. “That’s my guy. That’s one person that never did anything wrong. I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. He never did anything wrong in his three years.”

Offensive lineman Warren McClendon, who had just announced plans to enter the NFL draft, sustained minor injuries in the crash. Georgia football staffer Victoria Bowles was hospitalized with more serious injuries.

The Jan. 15 wreck was not the only recent incident in which a Georgia player was accused of racing and speeding. Linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson, the second-leading tackler in 2022, was arrested on Feb. 22 on charges of reckless driving and racing.

According to Athens-Clarke County jail records, Dumas-Johnson was released on Feb. 23 after posting a combined bond of $4,000 – $2,500 for allegedly racing on highways/streets and $1,500 for alleged reckless driving.

Georgia athletic department officials said on Jan. 28 that the vehicle driven by LeCroy was expected to be used only for recruiting activities, not personal use.

South Carolina gives AD Tanner raise, two-year extension

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner received a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through June 2026.

Tanner, 64, is a two-time College World Series champion as the Gamecocks’ baseball coach who moved to leading the athletic department in July 2012.

The new deal was approved by the school’s board of trustees Friday and replaces Tanner’s old agreement that was set to expire in June 2024. Tanner will receive a raise of more than $153,000 per season, increasing his total compensation to $1.175 million.

Tanner has had his ups and downs leading the department. He took over when football coach Steve Spurrier was in the middle of three straight 11-2 seasons with players like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

Tanner’s hire to replace Spurrier, Will Muschamp, lasted less than five seasons before he was let go in the middle of 2020. Muschamp’s replacement, current coach Shane Beamer, has had back-to-back winning seasons and been to a bowl game his first two yeas.

Tanner has also overseen the rise of women’s basketball under coach Dawn Staley, who signed a seven-year contract before the 2021-22 season worth $22.4 million. Staley and the Gamecocks won the national title last April and are favorites to repeat this season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum says he’ll be back by fall camp

Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.

Corum said that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina

Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.

“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.

“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”

Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.