Smith, Ashley granted release

UAPB is down to two returning running backs from 2013, but may get another one back.

Coach Monte Coleman confirmed Tuesday that Jamie Smith and Walter Ashley, both freshmen, asked for and were granted releases from their scholarships. Ashley, however, reconsidered his decision and has spoken with Coleman about returning, the coach added.

“I’m debating about how I want to handle that,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he didn’t know why Smith and Ashley asked to be released.

Smith is a key loss for the Golden Lions. The Camden Fairview graduate rushed for 380 yards and one touchdown on 86 carries in 10 games last season.

The Lions already are missing fellow freshman running back Jeremiah Young due to legal issues. Young, who shared starts with Smith last season, was arrested on suspicion of sexual indecency with a minor and video voyeurism and is awaiting a formal hearing. He will not return to the team until a ruling is made.

According to its spring roster, UAPB has 10 running backs, but only two of which — freshman Draylon Willis and junior Michael Wilson — saw playing time last year. The other eight, whose classifications were not listed, were Brian Handley, Aaron LaGrone, Jalen Dabner, Okera Leonard, Dennis Brunson, Autry Allen, Samuel Harmon and Rashad Boyd.

None of the players are listed as 2014 signees. LaGrone and Dabner both have redshirted and did not play last year.

“Some of those guys have been with us, but finally decided to come and play football with us,” Coleman said.