By Jeff Odom
Former Gaither High football player Ernest Suttles, a true freshman, has been dismissed from the University of Nebraska football team before ever stepping onto the field.
According to a statement from the university, Suttles, a highly recruited defensive end and 2012 All-Laker/All-Lutz News Defensive Player of the Year, and a teammate were kicked off the squad by Nebraska coach Bo Pelini after an incident at an off-campus party on June 21.
“We are aware of an incident involving student-athletes which occurred off campus over the weekend,” the statement said. “We are working with the University’s Dean of Students in gathering further details. We will continue to review the incident. Further, head football coach Bo Pelini has announced that Ernest Suttles and Thomas Brown are no longer members of the football program.”
According to a report by the Lincoln Journal Star, Suttles was cited for assaulting teammate and Nebraska linebacker David Santos in the late evening hours on June 21. The report added that a Lincoln (Neb.) Police Department incident report says Suttles allegedly struck Santos in the head with a bottle, requiring multiple stitches.
No other information about the incident was made available by press time.
Gaither coach Jason Stokes told The Laker/Lutz News in a text message that he was “very disappointed with the whole situation” but added that “everything is still under investigation.”
Suttles was a dynamic force on defense for the Cowboys last season, compiling 88 total tackles, 12 for a loss of yardage, 12 sacks and four forced fumbles, while helping lead Gaither to its first Class 7A-District 7 title in nine years. He was originally verbally committed to Iowa State University, but opted to sign with the Cornhuskers instead.
In total, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Suttles had 15 offers from Division I schools including Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, South Florida, Missouri and Indiana.
After he signed his letter of intent on National Signing Day in February, he said he was thrilled to play for Nebraska.
“Excitement, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Suttles said. “I wish I could leave today. … I’m ready to climb the ladder. Hopefully sooner than later.”
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