Stoops comments on six football players’ charges being waived by a grand jury


JuTahn McClain (17) runs through a drill during fall camp on Kentucky’s practice field on Aug. 10, 2021.

Barkley Truax

“Nobody believed it would go this far,” head coach Mark Stoops said after practice Tuesday afternoon.

It was announced Tuesday that all charges filed against the six Kentucky football players have been dropped and are able to return to practice immediately.

“We’re glad to welcome the players back to the team [and] to be eligible to play this weekend,” Stoops said.

R.J Adams, JuTahn McClain, Andru Phillips, Earnest Sanders IV, Vito Tisdale and Joel Williams all had first-degree burglary charges dismissed against them by a Fayette County grand jury. Tisdale’s wanton endangerment charge was also dropped. 

“Thank you to the grand jury for their due diligence and for doing the work,” Stoops said. “We appreciate that.”

Stoops said that the six players were cleared to return to practice activities last Monday, but were not cleared to play in the game against South Carolina.

“Part of that was we knew they had a hearing coming up and wanted to give them time to get back into shape, [and] to get the acquisition period back under their belt,” he said. Per NCAA rule, athletes must practice eight full days with no live tackling in helmets and shoulder pads before they’re allowed to participate in full pads at practice.

“They’re definitely back,” Stoops said about the six players being behind the rest of the team. “I noticed it today. We’re excited to get them back; I’ve been watching them, but they definitely need a lot of reps. They were back last week knowing they weren’t going to play. With game speed, game reps — I don’t know how fast that can happen.” He said we’ll have to see about whether or not those six see the field this Saturday against Flordia.

Stoops continued: “I appreciate the University, Dr. Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart,” he said. “We stuck by our players and we believed in them and believed that at the end of this process, they’ll be exonerated.”

While those inside the program believed their players would be cleared at the end of the day, there’s a history and negative connotation for young African-American men when it comes to being accused of crimes they allegedly didn’t commit. With the platform UK football has given these athletes — Stoops believes they received the proper ruling at the end of the day.

“I feel bad for people that don’t have representation, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “For the wrongly accused — It’s a scary world out there.”