Originally created 12/05/01

State agents arrest two Clemson players on drug charges



CLEMSON, S.C. -- Two of Clemson's starters have been arrested on drug charges, the third time in two years a group of Tigers have had problems with the law.

Senior running back Travis Zachery and junior left tackle Akil Smith were arrested Tuesday afternoon, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Both have been suspended from school and kicked off the football team, officials said.

In a prepared statement, coach Tommy Bowden said dismissing the players was in the best interest of the team and university.

Smith, 22, is charged with three counts of sale of marijuana and sale of marijuana within proximity of a school. Zachery, 24, faces a charge of distribution of marijuana, authorities said. Both players could face a maximum of five years in prison for each of the sale or distribution charges. Smith could face 10 years in prison on each of the charges of selling drugs near a school.

SLED agents say they arrested the pair after they sold marijuana to undercover agents or informants.

Two former Clemson players pleaded guilty to making and passing counterfeit bills in June and two months later, three players pleaded guilty to pulling fire alarms in dorms and stealing from the empty rooms.

But those players were reserves. Both Smith and Zachery were starters and played integral roles in Clemson's success.

Smith, who missed all of the 2000 season because of a blood clot in his lung, started all but two games this year. He won the Atlantic Coast Conference's offensive lineman of the week award in October for throwing a crucial block during Woodrow Dantzler's game-winning touchdown run against Georgia Tech.

Zachery ran for three touchdowns and caught a pass for another score in Clemson's 59-31 win over Duke last Saturday. He's run for 576 yards and eight touchdowns this year.

Warrants say Smith sold drugs to police on Aug. 28, Sept. 7 and Sept. 9. The purchases were made within a 1/2 -mile of the university, police said.

Zachery sold an ounce of what he said was marijuana to an informant for $175 on Nov. 5, according to a sworn statement.

The arrests came on the same day Clemson accepted an invitation to play Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.