Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
So ... I was ready to rip. I was ready to come down hard on Florida State for yet ANOTHER arrest and suspension. And I probably should. But for some reason, this one sounds more ridiculous than it does a capital crime. Especially since strength and conditioning coach Todd Stroud was zipping around on the motorcycle in question the day this whole mess happened.
According to police, Stroud said he borrowed the bike/moped from linebacker Maurice Harris, aka "Smiley."
Here's the deal:
Harris was arrested and charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor on Monday. The only thing police are charging him of stealing right now is a parking boot -- an immobilization device used when drivers have outstanding tickets or traffic violations. It's a felony because those things cost at least $300. (How on earth did Smiley get that off?) He was also charged with possession of a vehicle with altered numbers, another felony, and a nonmoving traffic violation because the paper tag didn't match the vehicle.
Here's the story:
According to Major Jim Russell of the Florida State University Police Department, on June 17, university parking services put an immobilization device on a motorcycle on the FSU campus.
On June 18, parking services noticed the motorcycle and the boot were gone.
On Monday afternoon, parking services noticed the motorcycle parked near Gate A at the stadium, and notified the police.
An officer contacted Stroud, who told police he had borrowed the motorcycle from Harris earlier in the day. Stroud brought Harris in to talk to the officer, but police said Harris refused to talk to him and denied knowing anything about the boot.
Harris was then charged.
Here's the problem:
We don't know if the motorcycle belongs to Harris. Police are still working on that one.
Here's the big picture:
Harris isn't exactly the player you picture when you think Florida State linebacker. He's only played in six career games, and he's had more injuries than NC State's entire team. His suspension isn't a huge loss. But it's more bad pub for a football program that needs as many lawyers as it does receivers right now.
Even if this bike does belong to Harris (it has since been impounded), he's gotten himself into a jam that now includes two felonies.
Instead of celebrating the recent commitments of top wide receiver De'Joshua Johnson, on the ESPNU 150 watch list, and Pahokee, Fla., prospect Merrill Noel, we're looking back at the mistakes made in the 2007 recruiting with players like Harris, Cameron Wade and Will Furlong, who recently transferred and lambasted offensive line coach Rick Trickett in the process.
Harris' arrest comes less than a week after offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher praised the turnaround his receivers have made this offseason. It seems like every time the Noles take a step forward, someone else steps out of line.
"They're maturing, they're growing up, their grades are getting better," Fisher said. "They're learning how to make decisions right now. They made bad decisions and they're understanding the consequences of them. They're trying to think down the road, big-picture thinking is what we're trying to put into their head. It's getting better."
Fisher is trying desperately to build something and lay the foundation for when he takes over, but the recruiting mistakes of the past are weighing his efforts -- and the entire program -- down.