Big Ten

Lovie Smith announces dismissals for three arrested, suspended Illini football players

The three Illinois football players suspended after being arrested earlier this month have been dismissed from the team, head coach Lovie Smith announced Wednesday.

Offensive lineman Darta Lee, tight end Zarrian Holcombe and offensive lineman HoJo Watkins Jr. were all indefinitely suspended and now are no longer with the program.

According to details from the Champaign News-Gazette, the three players were charged with residential burglary and aggravated robbery after what they claimed was a prank on a fellow dorm resident.

After the arrests on May 10, Smith announced Lee and Holcombe had previously been suspended and that a new suspension was put in place for Watkins.

"These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student-athletes," Smith said, his statement published by the Champaign News-Gazette. "We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn."

Lee and Holcombe were freshmen last season. Lee played in six games last season, starting two. Holcombe played in seven games.

Watkins was set to play in his freshman season this fall after enrolling early and working out with the team this spring.