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Two would-be West Virginia starters charged in theft

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Two West Virginia University football
players were arrested over the weekend and charged with
transferring and receiving stolen property.

James Thomas, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Ellis Lankster,
21, of Whistler, Ala., were arrested early Sunday, Morgantown
Police said in a news release.

Morgantown police didn't release any other details, but a police
dispatcher who declined to give her name said Monday that the
stolen property was a computer.

Coach Rich Rodriguez released a statement Sunday saying he was
aware that Lankster, a junior defensive back, and Thomas, a
redshirt freshman linebacker, had been involved in an off-campus situation.

"I am investigating at this time and will make the
determination about their status within the football program after
all the facts are in," Rodriguez said.

According to one report, both players were competing for starting spots and practicing with third-ranked West Virginia's first team.

Thomas is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound redshirt freshman linebacker whose father played linebacker for the Mountainers from 1994-95. Lankster, a 5-10, 190-pound cornerback who transferred from Jones County (Miss.) Junior College, enrolled in January.

Rodriguez recently announced that he had issued an 11 p.m.
Saturday night curfew to keep players away from possible distractions.

Neither player participated in West Virginia's Fan Day activities Sunday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.