Terps suspend receiver for 2 games after theft charge March trial date set for junior Johnson

January 24, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Mancel Johnson, a two-year starter at wide receiver, was suspended from the Maryland football team after he was charged with two counts of theft of under $300.

Johnson, a junior from Lanham, was suspended by coach Mark Duffner from spring practice and the Terps' first two games next season. Johnson, 20, was arrested by campus police yesterday, and released by a Prince George's County commissioner on personal recognizance to his father. Trial was set for March 18.

The misdemeanor charges arose from a series of on-campus incidents early on the morning of Dec. 3.

Witnesses told campus police that a group of from 12 to 15 men, several identified as football players and recruits, roamed through several residence halls, created diversions and took items. Cpl. Marc Limansky, a campus police spokesman, said that Johnson was charged in the theft of three videotapes and an electronic game cartridge, and that the items were recovered.

No other criminal charges will be filed, but athletic director Debbie Yow said the names of other involved players, along with Johnson's, will be forwarded to the campus judicial board and that further disciplinary action is possible. She also said that if the charges against Johnson are dropped or he is acquitted, his suspension could be reduced.

"Suspensions are always subject to change," Yow said. "There are other players involved, but I'm not positive about the number. With the campus judiciary board, it could be a matter of weeks or months before they address the issue."

Yow said that Duffner was not ordered to cease recruiting the involved high school players. She said one of the recruits since has committed to attend another college.

"We have no information to suggest that the recruits did anything illegal," Yow said.

Johnson's 81 career catches are the 13th best total in Maryland history. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt.

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