Ole Miss football signee Jamar Hornsby was indicted on a felony assault charge Friday morning, and hours later his Rebels football career was over before it began.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt issued a statement in the afternoon saying he was severing ties with the player, who has had more than one brush with the law.
“I am releasing Jamar Hornsby and he will not be a member of our football team,” Nutt said in a university news release. “We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
The trial is scheduled for Nov. 2 in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
A 6-foot-3, 215-pound defensive back, Hornsby earned junior college All-American honors last year at East Mississippi Community College after spending his freshman season at the University of Florida.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., he was rated the No. 3 junior college player in the nation by SuperPrep after totaling 111 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions as a sophomore.
Ole Miss begins practice on Monday, Aug. 10.
Hornsby was expected to compete immediately for the starting strong safety position, but shortly after signing with Ole Miss he was arrested and charged with assault and petit larceny after an altercation at the McDonald’s in Starkville on March 2.
Hornsby, 22, was accused of using brass knuckles in the altercation, but there was no mention of brass knuckles in the indictment which said Hornsby assaulted Benjamin Jenkins with “feet and fist.”
“We deny any feet were used, just like we denied brass knuckles were used,” Hornsby attorney Steve Farese said.
Hornsby is already on probation after accepting a plea deal in a misdemeanor credit card fraud case that occurred in the fall of 2007. While at Florida he used the credit card of a friend following that friend’s death and charged roughly $3,000 worth of gas.
He could be forced to serve four years in Florida for violating his probation.
Bill Cervone, the state attorney for the area around Gainesville, Fla., where Hornsby previously played for the Gators, told The Associated Press he will now alert a judge of the indictment.
“He doesn’t have to be convicted, but he’s not going to get revoked just because he’s been charged,” Cervone said. “The commission of an offense that violates his probation has to be proven.”
The absence of brass knuckles in the indictment language wasn’t enough to keep Hornsby in college football. Farese hopes it will keep him out of jail.
“I think this sheds a different light on his probation,” Farese said. “If I were a judge, I might cock my head a little bit on the probation issue. All along he has said this was nothing more than a fist fight.”
Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal