Judge calls out USF’s Strong for player arrests

A Hillsborough County (Florida) judge called out South Florida coach Charlie Strong and one of his players Wednesday.

At a hearing in the case of South Florida defensive end LaDarrius Jackson, who is charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment stemming from an incident earlier this week, Judge Margaret Taylor said she was ashamed to be an alumnus of the school and questioned whether Strong had control of his players.

Jackson is the second South Florida player to be charged with violent crimes in the past two months. In late March, defensive back Hassan Childs was charged with aggravated assault and marijuana possession in an incident in which he was shot three times. Strong later dismissed Childs from the team.

“I graduated from USF in 1989, long before there was a football team. And while USF may not be the top-ranked school in the nation, I was never ashamed of being an alum until now,” Taylor said in video of the hearing posted by WTSP-TV. “I’m embarrassed and ashamed, Mr. Jackson. Let’s just say my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now.”

Jackson was suspended by Strong after his arrest. Strong was hired by South Florida in December after he was fired by Texas. Both Jackson and Childs were players he inherited when he took over the program.

Taylor, however, took Strong to task for the players’ arrests.

“Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies. This court, and I’m sure I’m not alone, questions whether you have control over your players. It’s fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field.

“I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.”

Jackson, 22, was arrested at 10:38 p.m. by campus police in Tampa, Florida, on Monday. According to police, Jackson allegedly assaulted a female acquaintance Monday afternoon in student housing.

Jackson is being held on $102,000 bond.

“We are aware of the charges filed against LaDarrius Jackson. While we find the allegations troubling, we will continue to gather information and support the judicial process before providing further comment,” Strong said in the statement after Jackson’s arrest, according to USA Today Sports.

South Florida officials released a separate statement saying Jackson has been removed from all team activities.

The junior defensive end had three tackles in seven games in 2016, his first season with the Bulls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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