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Five Rutgers players arrested for assault, armed robbery

 – Photo by The Daily Targum

Five current players on the Rutgers football team were arrested on assault charges stemming from an ongoing investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and New Brunswick Police Department after Thursday’s practice.

Nadir Barnwell, Andre Boggs, Razohnn Gross, all 20 years old, and Delon Stephenson and Ruhann Peele, both 22, were identified by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and director of New Brunswick Police Department Anthony A. Capuano as the five Scarlet Knights facing those charges, according to a press release.

The five Rutgers football players were all charged in the alleged assault of four people, one of whom was a 19-year-old student at the University who suffered a broken jaw. The alleged incident occurred on Delafield Street, New Brunswick on April 25, 2015.

All five students were suspended immediately, according to an announcement from Athletic Director Julie Hermann. Police said Delon Stephenson’s brother and former Rutgers teammate, Daryl Stephenson, 23, remains at large.

“The students involved are currently suspended from our program,” Hermann said in the statement. “We continue to monitor the situation. We will have no further comment as this is a pending legal matter.”

The five players were charged with aggravated assault, riot and conspiracy to commit a riot in the alleged incident.

Barnwell had reportedly been facing academic ineligibility for months. As of Thursday’s practice, no compliance report determining any of his players’ academic status had been released.

The University had been investigating head football coach Kyle Flood on a potential violation of the school’s compliance code for impermissible contact with a faculty member after an NJ Advance Media report surfaced early last week.

Flood, who has refrained from comment on the investigation — even after unnamed University officials told NJ Advance Media that Flood was urged not to contact the faculty member — said he believed he would be the Knights’ head coach when Rutgers opens its season at High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday against Norfolk State.

“I have no reason to believe I will not be coaching on Saturday,” Flood said when he met with the media after Thursday’s practice.

Flood made those comments before the arrests were reported. Under the fourth-year head coach, nine Rutgers players have been arrested.

Named the starting cornerback for the opener at the beginning of the week, Boggs was arrested after a separate string of three incidents he allegedly enacted with former teammate Tejay Johnson.

It was not the first time Johnson, a 23-year-old of Egg Harbor, New Jersey, received charges. When he was a member of the Rutgers football team in 2013, he was charged with simple assault, second degree robbery and false imprisonment. A 35-year-old man claimed to have been beaten and robbed against his will by Johnson and five other males, but the charges were eventually dropped months later in Egg Harbor Township Municipal Court.

In the span of two days earlier this year, Johnson and Boggs were allegedly involved in a pair of separate house invasions. On April 26 at 11:29 p.m., a police investigation claims that they were involved in robbing five students of an unspecified amount of cash and marijuana on Prosper Street in New Brunswick.

The next night, equipped with a baseball bat and knife, police say Johnson and Boggs invaded a house just blocks over on Hartwell Street and stole roughly $900 and marijuana from a student.

Police also charged Dylan Mastriana, a 19-year-old student of Rio Grande, for his role in helping plan the robbery.

Then, one week later on May 5, the investigation claims Johnson and Boggs attempted robbery of two students in a Livingston campus dormitory. On Thursday, they were both arrested on counts of robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robber and burglary while armed.

While Johnson has not been with the team since ending his football career due to injury before the start of the 2014 football season, Boggs and Stephenson were slated to start full-time for the Knights on defense this year. With five players already suspended for the first half of the game for breaking curfew, Rutgers enters its season opener this weekend with a total of 10 Knights suspended following the arrests.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @GarrettStepien and @TargumSports on Twitter.

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