If there were ever a reality show based on the legal lives of Florida Gator football players, Huntley Johnson would be the headlining star. In that vein, the Gainesville-based lawyer has yet another high-profile case on his hands.
Monday, it was reported that UF quarterback Treon Harris had been indefinitely suspended from the football program as he was in the midst of what was initially described as a legal matter. A few hours later, the school released a statement confirming that the true freshman had been “accused of sexually assaulting a female studentearly Sunday morning in a residence hall on the UF campus.”
In a move that will surprise absolutely no one familiar with how things work in Gainesville, Johnson has been “retained” by Harris as his counsel. In another non-surprising maneuver, Johnson is putting a confident spin on his client’s current predicament.
“We are cooperating with the investigation, and I’m hopeful that there will not be an arrest in this case,” Johnson said, before addressing his client’s suspension in state-of-the-art lawyer-speak.
“The university has their rules, and based on what they know at this point, it’s appropriate,” he said. “In the long run, I hope it’s not appropriate.”
Johnson went on to add that he “would be surprised and disappointed if [Harris] ends up being prosecuted.”
Harris, incidentally, is the son of Miami running backs coach Tim “Ice” Harris Sr. “I’ll know more in a couple days, but I’ve talked to Treon and he’s fine. He’ll get through this,” the Hurricanes assistant said.
No details connected to the incident have been released, although David Jones ofFlorida Today wrote that “[a] source familiar with the situation said the evidence was ‘shaky at best‘ and labeled it as a ‘he said, she said’ situation.
At this very early stage and even if football matters pale in comparison, the situation leaves the Gators in a quarterback quandary.
Harris, a four-star member of UF’s 2014 recruiting class and rated as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country, was expected to take a redshirt in his first year under new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. Instead, because of Jeff Driskel‘s poor play, Harris’ redshirt was burned as the former was yanked in the win over Tennessee and the latter led the Gators to the road win.
Because of Harris’ suspension, head coach Will Muschamp, on one of the hottest coaching seats in the country, has no choice but to go back to Driskel. What kind of confidence will the erstwhile starter have amidst this quarterbacking quagmire? The answer, one way or the other, will in large part determine whether Muschamp adds “former” to his current title at season’s end.