Incoming MU freshmen dismissed
HUNTINGTON -- Three incoming freshmen were dismissed from Marshall University's football team Wednesday, hours before one of the three was arrested and charged with felony robbery.
Search warrants filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court link defensive tackle Mike Fleurizard and running back Antwon Chisholm to the Saturday, July 31, robbery of a Papa John's pizza delivery man in the 2100 block of Buffington Avenue. A criminal complaint then charges that Fleurizard, also on Saturday, worked with two others to rob a Z Brick Pizza delivery man on the university's campus.
The Z-Brick complaint charges Fleurizard threw the delivery man to the ground, kicked him in the face and held him down while Fleurizard's accomplices grabbed the food, a carrier and $290 cash. All three fled the scene.
The Z-Brick delivery man identified Fleurizard in a photo lineup, the complaint states. He was the only one facing charges as of Wednesday evening, and no other arrests have been reported. He was charged with the Z Brick robbery.
Marshall football coach Doc Holliday announced the dismissal of Fleurizard, Chisholm and wide receiver Fred Pickett at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday just prior to the first fall football practice for returning players. The first-year head coach did not mention the alleged robberies and had no further comment when asked following Fleurizard's arrest later in the morning.
The three dismissed players, all from Florida, were to report for the Herd's first newcomers practice of the season at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.
"We have high expectations of our players, and these three have not lived up to what we require of a Marshall University football player," Holliday said in a prepared statement. "They have lost the privilege of playing football at Marshall and have been dismissed from our football team."
Chisholm, a 5-9, 175-pound native of Belle Glade, Fla., was expected to compete for immediate playing time at running back. The same was true for Pickett, a 5-9, 165-pound native of Pahokee, Fla., who was expected to be in the rotation at slot receiver.
Pickett was one of Marshall's more high-profile recruits because he originally had given a verbal commitment to West Virginia University, where Holliday was formerly associate head coach. But Holliday was able to get him to renege and eventually sign with Marshall.
Fleurizard, a 6-4, 285-pound native of West Palm Beach, Fla., was expected to be redshirted. He was arraigned by Cabell County Magistrate Mike Woelfel and jailed on a $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 13.
Pickett has not been named in any court documents.
The Huntington Police Department, in cooperation with the Marshall University Police Department, used the warrants to search Twin Towers East Room Nos. 510 and 901. Both searches were executed Monday afternoon.
In Room No. 510, authorities confiscated a Papa John's pizza box by the bed, a Papa John's box containing chicken wings, two New Amsterdam gin bottles and a plastic bag containing marijuana seeds.
In Room No. 901, authorities confiscated three cell phones and as many Florida Marlins baseball caps.
Both searches were the product of leads developed after the robberies. A Marshall University police officer observed three men standing outside of Twin Towers on Sunday, Aug. 1. He believed they matched a description given from the Papa John's theft, according to the search warrant affidavit.
The affidavit states a Huntington Police detective received the case Monday morning. He quickly met with Marshall University police, who provided him with three suspect names and video surveillance. The video showed the suspects entering an elevator with pizza boxes just after the Papa John's robbery, the affidavit states.
The Marshall University Police Department also recovered two pizza boxes in a laundry room trash can on the fifth floor of Twin Towers East. Information from those pizza boxes was given to a Huntington police detective, who forwarded it to Papa John's. That company confirmed the boxes were ones stolen during the robbery.
The dismissal of the three players reduces Marshall's incoming recruiting class to 22 players.