The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

July 15, 2014

UPDATE: WVU player arrested in Delaware case

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

Smallwood, a 20-year-old sophomore out of Wilmington, Delaware, was arrested as a fugitive from justice. He was wanted for witness intimidation, a felony in Delaware.

If it is simple intimidation of witness, it is a Class D felony and carries a penalty of up to eight years in prison; if aggravate intimidation of a witness, it becomes a Class B felony that carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen issued the following statement:

“I have been briefed on the situation regarding Wendell Smallwood. We are looking into the matter and will take action at the appropriate time.”

According to Wilmington police Cpl. Mark Ivy in a story in the Wilmington News-Journal, Smallwood tried to get a witness to recant statements implicating a friend of his charged with first-degree murder.

The fatal shooting occurred April 14, 2012, in the 2700 block of West Fourth Street. Wilmington resident Manuel Oliveras, 51, was fatally shot about 9 p.m. in the front courtyard of a row home near Greenhill Avenue and West Fourth Street.

Zakee Lloyd, then 19, of the 300 block of East 24th Street in Wilmington, was arrested Jan. 8, 2013, charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

On multiple occasions in March and May 2013, Ivey said, Smallwood “called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements” that implicated Lloyd.

Police did not disclose how Smallwood was identified in the alleged witness tampering attempt or how the matter came to authorities’ attention.

Smallwood is expected to be a key cog in the Mountaineer offense this year. He is listed as the No. 2 running back behind Dreamius Smith in the post-spring depth chart, but due to his versatility he is being counted upon to wear many hats, serving both as a running back and receiver.

He rushed for 221 yards and one touchdown as a true freshman last season while catching 11 passes for 132 yards. He also returned 30 kickoffs, averaging 18 yards a return.

The coaching staff spent last season grooming Smallwood to become the replacement for All-Big 12 performer Charles Sims, following him around to watch how he worked and approached the job.

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