Charges filed, hearing set for five Notre Dame football players

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Five Notre Dame football players who were arrested in Fulton County on Aug. 19 face misdemeanor charges.

All five of the players — safety Max Redfield, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson, running back Dexter Williams, cornerback Ashton White and linebacker Te'von Coney — were charged Monday with possession of marijuana, a B misdemeanor. Redfield, who has since been dismissed from the program, was also charged with carrying a handgun without a license, an A misdemeanor.

Their initial hearing has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Redfield, Stepherson and Williams were also initially accused of possession of a handgun without a license. No one in the vehicle claimed ownership of the handgun, so police sought charges against the three players in the back seat because they had access to the gun at the time of the traffic stop, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced on Aug. 21 that Redfield has been dismissed from the team, while Coney, Stepherson, White and Williams will each face internal discipline.

A state trooper pulled over a Ford Focus carrying the five players for a traffic stop shortly after 10 p.m., according to police. The car was traveling 73 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone, and had an improper taillight, according to state police.

During a search of the car, including a police dog, troopers found marijuana and a loaded handgun, according to police.

In a separate incident, senior cornerback Devin Butler was arrested outside the Linebacker bar shortly after midnight on Aug. 20. Butler was later charged with resisting arrest and battery of a police officer, both Level 6 felonies. He entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment last Wednesday.

Butler has been indefinitely suspended from the Notre Dame football team. All six players will not only have to answer to legal charges but to Notre Dame's disciplinary arm as well.

Prior to his dismissal, Redfield — a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior — was expected to be Notre Dame's starting free safety in the season opener at Texas on Sept. 4. In his place, true freshman Devin Studstill will make his first career start.

A 5-11, 210-pound sophomore, Williams was expected to contribute in a three-man rotation at running back, alongside senior Tarean Folston and sophomore Josh Adams. Stepherson — a 6-foot, 181-pound freshman — was also expected to make an impact at the wide receiver position, though he wasn't likely to start.

Coney, a sophomore, had been competing for a starting berth at weakside linebacker, though junior Greer Martini had recently surged ahead in that race. White, a sophomore, is not in the Irish two-deeps at cornerback.

Last week, Kelly said that, unless the university brings further discipline, Williams, Stepherson, Coney and White will be available to play in the season opener against Texas on Sunday.

Butler was not expected to play until at least October after suffering the recurrence of a broken foot in June. The senior does have starting experience but was expected to compete for a backup position when he returned.

The fall semester of classes at Notre Dame began last week.

The Irish are ranked No. 10 in the preseason Associated Press poll, which was released Sunday. Kelly's team is also ranked No. 9 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll.

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly has his hands full after six Irish football players were arrested overnight on various charges in two separate incidents. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
Notre Dame football players (clockwise from top left) Ashton White, Dexter Williams, Kevin Stepherson, Devin Butler, Te'von Coney and Max Redfield. (Photos provided)