Dunlap reinstated; Will play in Sugar Bowl
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap is back with the team, back at practice and could be back in the starting lineup in the Sugar Bowl.
The fifth-ranked Gators reinstated Dunlap on Friday, less than three weeks after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
“He’s going to play,” Meyer said after practice. “I met with the administration, president and also the athletic director. His first mistake. It was a real serious one, but he paid a serious price as well. Real serious mistake, but he’s been a good student, good person, and represented well.”
Dunlap was arrested Dec. 1 after a Gainesville Police officer found the player passed out behind the wheel at an intersection. Meyer suspended Dunlap for the Southeastern Conference championship game, which the Gators lost 32-13 to Alabama.
Meyer said school president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley agreed Friday that Dunlap should be reinstated because it was his first time in trouble in three seasons.
“There was a lot of discussion, and like I said, the previous track record,” Meyer said. “It’s case by case. If there was another issue, then there’d be an issue. And there hasn’t been, and that’s what basically administration let me know. They let me know.”
Dunlap, a 20-year-old junior from North Charleston, S.C., has a hearing scheduled for Jan. 21.
According to police, Dunlap was passed out through several traffic signals around 3:45 a.m. — hours after a teammate’s birthday party. An officer woke up Dunlap through a cracked window, but he kept falling back asleep.
Dunlap had watery and bloodshot eyes, the officer said, and there was a smell of alcohol. Dunlap failed a field sobriety test, refused a breath test and was arrested.
Dunlap, the defensive MVP of the Bowl Championship Series national title game in January, has 35 tackles and seven sacks this season.
Dunlap had been considered a top-10 pick in the NFL draft, and many expect him to leave school early in January.