John Huggins

UF defensive back John Huggins did not play in five games last year after he was accused of choking a tutor. Huggins has been absent from fall camp as well.

Sophomore UF defensive back John Huggins was accused of choking a female tutor in October, according to a UPD report uncovered this week by the Tampa Bay Times.

The alleged incident happened after the tutor took Huggins’ phone to ensure he wouldn’t leave early, according to the Times. The 19-year-old student filed a police report but did not elect to press charges.

Huggins — who played sparingly last season — quietly missed the next five games after the report was filed. His absence and the reason behind it went unreported at the time.

“That (the alleged incident) was part of it,” UF coach Dan Mullen said about Huggins’ absence. “I don’t know if that was all of it, but that was, you know, with all those games... I mean, he was a true freshman, so he was only going to play in certain games anyway.” 

Huggins has also been away from the team in training camp this year, which UF has repeatedly blamed on a family issue. When pressed at Tuesday’s press conference, Mullen reiterated the alleged choking incident was unrelated to Huggins’ current absence, saying he has “great clarity” on when Huggins will return and the alleged incident has already “been handled.” He did not elaborate on when Huggins will return to team activities. 

When Mullen was asked if he was happy with how Huggins has handled himself since October, he replied, “some things yes, some things no.” 

The absence of Huggins would be a blow to an already thin secondary if it continues into the regular season. He figures to play a bigger role this season due to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s move to the NFL in addition to teammate C.J. McWilliams’ season-ending Achilles tear. 

Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano. Contact him at [email protected].

Sam Campisano is the sports editor of The Alligator. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2017, and previously covered men's golf, swimming, soccer and women's basketball.