The Auburn Tigers and coach Gus Malzahn have officially dismissed safety Demetruce McNeal following charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
“After visiting with Demetruce, I made the decision to dismiss him from our team,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahnsaid in a statement Saturday afternoon. “We have high expectations both on and off the field for our players.”
McNeal was originally arrested at roughly 2 a.m. on Saturday morning and released on $500 bond shortly thereafter, according to Lee County sheriff Jay Jones.
The safety was the team’s leading returning tackler after collecting 90 during the Tigers’ three-win 2012 campaign. His 53 solo tackles were 12 more than anyone else on Auburn last season.
He was expected to start as a senior in 2013, despite missing 11 practices earlier in the offseason with a staph infection. His dismissal with two weeks remaining until Auburn’s Week 1 showdown against Washington State puts Malzahn’s defense in quite a bind.
Jermaine Whitehead brings his 86 total tackles from 2012 to one safety spot, while Joshua Hosley is expected to step up in McNeal’s absence. Holsey collected 30 total tackles as a freshman a year ago.