FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A University of Kentucky football player has been dismissed from the team after he was charged early Monday with trafficking marijuana.
Junior defensive end Jason A. Hatcher, 21, was initially stopped for speeding, but he was arrested after a deputy found a pound of marijuana during a search, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton confirmed for WKYT.
Melton says the deputy approached the vehicle, smelled marijuana and told Hatcher he was going to search the vehicle. When the deputy went to put on gloves, he noticed Hatcher shuffling around in the car. The deputy searched Hatcher and found marijuana in Hatcher's pants and in his vehicle.
Melton says when the search started it was clear Hatcher was trying to hide something down his pants. "There were seeds and stems on his crotch. The rest of the marijuana was in the passenger floorboard."
Hatcher was booked in the Franklin County Regional Jail. His arraignment was scheduled for Monday morning.
The UK Athletics Department issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
"Jason Hatcher, a defensive end/linebaker on the University of Kentucky football team, has been dismissed for violation of team rules, Coach Mark Stoops has announced. UK has no additional comment."
This is not the first time Hatcher has faced discipline. Last August, he was suspended for UK’s first two games of the season for violating team rules.
Hatcher, a 6-foot-3, 252 pound junior, was one of the nation's top prospects out of high school. He was ranked No. 8 by Rivals.com and No. 14 by ESPN.com.
He played outside linebacker or defensive end for the Wildcats. The Louisville native was a part-time starter last season, and he was likely going to get more playing time because of the departure of starting end Za’Darius Smith and end/linebacker Bud Dupree, both of whom graduated and now play in the NFL.
According to UK Athletics, Hatcher played in 21 games, including six starts. He recorded 47 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks.
Hatcher plead not guilty to the charges Monday morning. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 15th at 1pm.