University of Tennessee at Chattanooga running back Keon Williams was put on probation Friday in Hamilton County General Sessions court after pleading guilty to simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Williams avoided a felony by pleading guilty to the lesser charge of simple possession, rather than possession for resale, which was the original charge when he was arrested May 1.
Judge David Bales suspended two sentences of 11 months, 29 days each, and Williams was put on probation for two years, one for each charge. He must serve 10 days of public works (typically trash pickup) and submit to regular drug screenings for six months.
In addition, the former Red Bank High School all-state runner was ordered to pay fines totaling $400, as well as court costs.
“It went as well as it could have,” Williams’ attorney, Gerald Webb, said of Friday’s hearing. “He’s a good kid, he made a mistake and he acknowledges the fact that he made a mistake.”
Webb and assistant district attorney Ben Boyer were able to keep the drug possession charge to a misdemeanor, Webb said, by running the probation years consecutively instead of concurrently.
Bales told Williams that “you’re looking at two years locked up if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do” during the next two years. After two years without incident, Bales said the case will be dismissed and can be expunged from Williams’ record.
Boyer said in court that Williams already is facing disciplinary action from UTC, which held its own student conduct judicial review of the matter. Mocs coach Russ Huesman, meanwhile, said he and Williams will sit down in the next few weeks to determine Williams’ status with the team.
Huesman will be in Charleston, S.C., next week for the Southern Conference meetings.
As a freshman last season, Williams was second on the team with 500 yards rushing. He still has his redshirt year available, so Huesman could sit Williams for the entire 2011 season and still leave him with three years of eligibility remaining.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...