Georgia freshmen Rochester, Clay arrested on weapon charges

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia freshmen Julian Rochester and Chad Clay were arrested Monday night on felony charges including the possession of a BB gun in a school zone.

Rochester, a defensive lineman, and Clay, a defensive back, were charged with having a weapon in a school zone and second degree criminal damage resulting from damage to a campus dorm. Each is a felony charge.

The players did not participate in Tuesday's spring practice but could be back on Thursday, according to coach Kirby Smart.

Smart said the incident ''really saddens me.''

''This conduct will not be tolerated and these guys will be punished at the appropriate time in the appropriate manner,'' Smart said after the practice. He said information is still being gathered about the incident.

Smart said he did not know if the players will be allowed to participate in Saturday's G-Day spring game.

''It's just sad because both those kids were improving on the football field and to make a decision so dumb, I mean just a dumb decision, it's disappointing and really embarrasses all of us,'' Smart said. ''It embarrasses the university, and embarrasses their families.''

The two were arrested by University of Georgia police and were released from the Athens-Clarke County jail late Tuesday morning, according to jail records. The records show each posted $1,000 bond for each charge.

Campus police initially investigated the alleged incident at a campus dormitory on Thursday.

The evidence listed in the police report obtained by The Associated Press included suspected marijuana, a bong, an air-powered BB handgun, and a 6,000-count box of BBs and cartridges for the air gun.

The players were not charged with any drug offenses.

The report lists damage to a wall, door and refrigerator in the dorm room, as well as damage to an elevator door at the dorm, all apparently caused by BB shots. It also states officers found liquor bottles which apparently had been shot with a BB gun.

The report included an estimate of damages at $835 to $1085, depending on if the dorm room door had to be replaced or could be repaired.

Smart, the former Alabama defensive coordinator hired in January to replace the fired Mark Richt, already has to take action on the arrest of another player. Sophomore defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter was suspended one game after being arrested on two alcohol-related charges last month.

Ledbetter, who played in seven games as a backup in 2015, will miss the Bulldogs' Sept. 3 opener against North Carolina in the Georgia Dome.

Clay, from Marietta, Georgia, and Peachtree Ridge High School; and Rochester, from Powder Springs, Georgia, and McEachern High School; are among six freshmen who enrolled early for spring practice.

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