Freshman linebacker Angelo Watley has been suspended from the University of South Carolina but hopes to return to the school and the football team for the 2013 season, his lawyer said Tuesday.
“He loves the school and the coaching staff,” Columbia lawyer Byron Gibson said. “He wants to be back and his family wants him to be back. He came here because he believes there are some good things he can do.”
Watley has been suspended from athletic activity since Feb. 26 when he was arrested on charges of grand larceny, credit card theft and second-degree burglary. As of Friday, he was barred from campus and all university activities at least until his charges are resolved, Gibson said.
“At that point, his status will be re-evaluated,” Gibson said.
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A woman who answered Watley’s cell phone Tuesday and identified herself as his mother expressed optimism Watley will be cleared of the charges.
“He has been suspended, but we are confident that once he has a chance to tell his side of the story this matter will be cleared up. It’s a huge mistake,” said the woman, who hung up when asked for her name.
Watley was arrested after Columbia Police officers responded to a home on Senate Street in reference to a burglary about 7 a.m. on Feb. 26, according to police spokesperson Jennifer Timmons. When officers arrived, the home’s two occupants said they woke up, seeing a man in the home, Timmons said. Watley was arrested at the home, Timmons said. Watley is accused of stealing more than $2,700 in goods, including cash, a laptop and an Apple iPad. All of the items were recovered.
There is no timetable for the investigation, Gibson said, but it’s unlikely Watley could return for the 2012 season under any circumstances.
“We will not let the grass grow under this thing,” Gibson said. “I would hope that things can be done before the semester is out, but I have no way of putting a timetable on that yet.”
Gibson declined to discuss details of the case.
“We look forward to resolving this through the legal system as quickly as we possibly can.”
Watley was a three-star prospect when he signed with the Gamecocks out of Peachtree Ridge High School in Georgia. He was arrested in Georgia in 2011 and charged with six counts of terroristic threats. Watley redshirted last season.