Charges have been dropped against West Virginia tailback Wendell Smallwood, who was arrested earlier this month on witness intimidation charges in a murder case.
Smallwood, who had been the top contender for WVU's vacant tailback job, was arrested July 14. The News-Journal of Wilmington, Del. -- Smallwood's hometown -- had reported that police said Smallwood, 20, had repeatedly attempted to convince a witness to recant statements implicating a friend, identified as Zakee Lloyd, who had been charged with first-degree murder and was awaiting trial.
The Delaware attorney general's office said it dropped the charges against Smallwood Tuesday, a few hours after Lloyd, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, right before the start of jury selection.
"Since his arrest, Wendell Smallwood has been fully cooperative with the Department of Justice and Wilmington Police Department, including giving a full statement regarding his involvement in witness intimidation," prosecution spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement. "He was fully prepared to testify truthfully in the upcoming trial, and his cooperation was instrumental to the State in securing today's conviction of Zakee Lloyd."
West Virginia opens fall camp Thursday. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen declined to answer questions about Smallwood during last week's Big 12 Media Days event.
Smallwood (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) played in every game last season, starting one. He rushed for 221 yards and a TD on 39 carries and also had 11 receptions. In addition, he was WVU's main kick returner. WVU is looking for a new starter to replace the graduated Charles Sims, who was a third-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May's draft.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.