On the surface, the arrest of Florida offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker looks bad.
The redshirt freshman from Boynton Beach, Fla. was arrested by University Police on Wednesday near Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle on campus—a third-degree felony, according to GatorBait.net.
A third-degree felony charge certainly looks bad on paper, and would certainly call Jessamen's future with the Gator football program into question.
However, let's hold off on that for a second. It's not like the guy was stealing cars.
Jessamen was popped for riding a scooter, which was reported stolen, that didn't have a license tag. He was also booked on a second-degree misdemeanor charge for driving with a suspended license.
Don't get me wrong, he should be punished, and perhaps suspended. Facts could come out and necessitate a dismissal. However, this isn't necessarily an incident worthy of a dismissal, despite the fact that the charges indicate otherwise.
At least not right now.
“Coach (Will Muschamp) is aware of the incident,” Florida spokesman Steve McClain said. “He is on the road recruiting and will address it when he returns.”
It's entirely possible that Jessamen didn't know that the scooter was stolen.
That doesn't mean that he's without blame. He should know that a motorized vehicle needs a tag to be street-legal. However, before we jump off the deep end and demand that Jessamen be dismissed, let's let this mellow a bit and see what facts come to the surface.
GatorBait.net reports that Jessamen's arrest is the 15th since head coach Will Muschamp arrived prior to the 2011 season, and the sixth in the past year.
Jessamen was a 4-star prospect in the class of 2013 out of Boynton Beach Community High School. He was the No. 3 offensive guard in the country, according to 247Sports.com. He is expected to compete for playing time at offensive guard in 2013 for the Gators.