Four players from Alabama's 2012 national championship football team were indefinitely suspended by head coach Nick Saban after being charged in a pair of robberies during the weekend.
Redshirt freshman D.J. Pettway and true freshmen Tyler Hayes and Eddie Williams were arrested and charged with robbery after physically assaulting a pair of university students. Redshirt freshman Brent Calloway was charged with fraudulent use of a credit or debit card after using one of the students' activity card to purchase items from a vending machine in his dormitory.
"The young men charged are indefinitely suspended as we continue to gather information and talk to the appropriate people," Saban said in a statement released through the university's media relations department. "The university and football program have strict guidelines regarding issues of this magnitude. This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program."
All were heralded recruits out of high school. Calloway, Pettway and Hayes played in 13 games for Alabama in 2012, while Williams was redshirted. Williams was a five-star prospect out of Panama City, Fla., and was expected to contend for playing time in the Crimson Tide secondary in 2013.
Calloway, after spending 2011 at linebacker, was moved to H-back but had trouble adjusting to the new position and walk-on senior Kelly Johnson started. Calloway, a contributor on special teams who was singled out for his performance against Western Carolina on Nov. 19, was expected to compete for the starting job in 2013. He earned national attention as a four-star recruit out of Russellville, who drew attention after switching his commitment from Auburn to Alabama late in the recruiting battle.
Hayes, a four-star prospect out of Thomasville, played in 13 games on special teams, making two tackles in the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. He was expected to contend for more playing time at linebacker in 2013.
Pettway, a four-star recruit from Pensacola, Fla., saw playing time at defensive end in 2012 and was expected to compete for a starting job after the graduation of Damion Square and Quinton Dial. He played in 13 games this past season, recording a sack in the BCS National Championship Game.
Williams, according to the Tuscaloosa News, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license Sunday after police were called to the BP gas station on University Boulevard for Williams' erratic behavior. The automobile in which Williams was riding was stopped a few blocks away and he was searched, where police discovered a weapon. He was later released on $500 bond.
A few hours later, Williams, Hayes and Pettway were charged with robbery II. According to the police report, the trio assaulted a university student on the sidewalk outside of Paty Hall at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, knocking him unconscious and taking his backpack which contained a laptop computer.
An hour later, more robbery II charges followed after Williams assaulted another student, rendering him unconscious. According to the police report, "Williams stated that he was accompanied by Dennis Pettway and Tyler Hayes, both of whom he stated were involved in an earlier robbery with him as well. Both subjects stood by in a vehicle, with knowledge of his intent, while he committed the crime."
Calloway was arrested after using one of the students' activity card, which doubles as a debit card at various places throughout the campus, including vending machines. Calloway "used it to obtain snacks from the vending machine located on the first floor of Bryant Hall," the report states. "Mr. Calloway admitted to using the card for numerous purposes."
The Associated Press reported that Williams was released on a $65,000 bond, while Hayes and Pettway were released on $60,000 bond. Calloway was released on a $5,000 bond.
It is the second time in five weeks that players from Alabama's top-rated recruiting class of 2011 ran into trouble with Saban. Linebackers Dillon Lee and Ryan Anderson were sent home from Miami after violating team rules three days before the BCS National Championship Game.
Saban has been lauded for his efforts in bringing in numerous speakers to address off-the-field conduct with his players, which has resulted in few headlines since the 2008 season.
This is the third major incident involving football players since Saban arrived at Alabama in January 2007, and the previous two violations resulted in players being dismissed from the team.
In February, 2008, freshman Jeremy Elder brandished a pellet gun in the Bryant Hall parking lot and robbed two students of $26. The Bryant Hall dormitory houses some athletes as well as other students and includes video cameras in the parking lot, which picked up Elder's offense. He was dismissed from the team hours later.
In June, 2008, reserve tailback Jimmy Johns was arrested on six drug-related charges, including distribution of cocaine. He was dismissed from the team and later spent a year in prison before returning home to Brookhaven, Miss.
Saban's players had two minor incidents in his first year as head coach of the Tide. Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Fanney and Roy Upchurch were charged in an altercation at a nightclub on University Boulevard during the summer preceding Saban's first season. Deaderick was shot two years later in an apparent holdup outside a Northport apartment complex but went on to star for the Tide and is now with the New England Patriots.
Fanney later transferred to North Alabama, while Upchurch remained with the Tide as a reserve running back and is coaching high school football in his native Tallahassee, Fla.
Later that season, defensive back Simeon Castille was charged with disorderly conduct after chasing a car filled with teammates on the strip.
Both incidents on the strip resulted in internal discipline by Saban, and the players were allowed to continue playing.