Lamical Perine battery case is latest blow to Florida Gators’ offseason

Our timeline of UF’s turbulent month, from Jalon Jones’ case to five-star recruiting misses.
Lamical Perine has led the Florida Gators in rushing each of the last two seasons. [Times files]
Lamical Perine has led the Florida Gators in rushing each of the last two seasons. [Times files]
Published May 17

The Florida Gators’ turbulent offseason is continuing with the recent news that starting running back Lamical Perine was accused of battery (as first reported by the Gainesville Sun).

Police documents obtained Friday morning by the Tampa Bay Times say Perine grabbed a tow truck driver by the arm during an argument after the man tried to tow a car owned by Perine’s mother. The May 7 incident was captured on a cell phone camera.

Perine, UF’s leading rusher each of the past two seasons, wasn’t physically arrested “due to recently having surgery and (being) under the influence of medication at the time of this event,” according to the Gainesville Police Department. But he was given a notice to appear in court next month.

RELATED: Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen 'disappointed’ in Jalon Jones, Brian Edwards accusations

Regardless of the incident’s severity —the state attorney has suggested the case might have no merit —it’s the latest in a string of bad news for the Gators, with stories ranging from recruiting misses to heinous accusations:

April 6: Blue-chip early enrollee quarterback Jalon Jones is accused of sexually battering two women in two separate early-morning incidents, 30 minutes apart. Both women declined to pursue criminal cases. Jones played in UF’s spring game a week later but was suspended soon after.

April 22: Assistant director of player personnel Otis Yelverton is arrested on a felony complaint of aggravated stalking. Among the allegations: His ex-girlfriend says he threatened to blow up her car. Yelverton remains on administrative leave.

April 30: Jones enters the NCAA’s transfer portal. The criminal accusation against him becomes public two days later.

May 3: Five-star running back Demarkcus Bowman orally commits to Clemson over UF. It’s a blow to the Gators’ 2020 class from a school (Lakeland High) with a strong pipeline to UF.

May 6: Backup defensive back Brian Edwards is arrested on a complaint of simple battery (dating violence). According to the police report, he grabbed his girlfriend by the neck when she turned to leave, and marks were seen on her neck afterward. He remains enrolled at UF but away from the team.

May 7: Perine receives a notice to appear in court —which GPD calls an administrative arrest —after grabbing a tow truck driver by the arm during a 3 a.m. argument over his mother’s car. He’s due in court June 5, according to the police documents.

May 9: Blue-chip early enrollee Chris Steele enters the transfer portal. Steele was the Gators’ top recruit in the 2019 class and was reportedly unhappy because UF wouldn’t change his living arrangement with Jones (although UF officials have said there were many factors in his decision). Within a day of Steele’s choice, two five-star 2021 prospects from Ocala Vanguard, defensive end Bryce Langston and receiver Trevonte Rucker, decommit from UF.

READ MORE: The Florida Gators keep losing their top recruits. Chris Steele is just the latest