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Judge calls out coach Charlie Strong for USF players' arrests

College Football, South Florida Bulls

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 Bulls 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 a violent crime 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."

Taylor has voluntarily recused herself from the case following her comments.

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 still 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," Taylor said. "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."

Strong said in a statement released later Wednesday that he was "disappointed" that the two players' arrests had "harmed the reputation of our program ... and of my character."

The full statement: "In the short time I have been here our program has been built on character, discipline and family. We have wonderful young men in the USF football program who choose to do the right thing every day. We are dedicated to recruiting young men of high character, and to consistently developing them with structure and frequent education regarding appropriate conduct and behavior, on and off the playing field. While I am shocked and saddened at the recent arrest of a member of our team, I am disappointed that the actions of two players over the last two months have harmed the reputation of our program, of our wonderful university and of my character. We have high expectations of our coaches, staff and student-athletes and we hold accountable those who act contrary to our values."

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, according to online court records.

South Florida officials released a 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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