Georgia Southern fans were delivered shocking news recently, as it was announced that Eagles’ starting quarterback Shai Werts and defensive end Quan Griffin were arrested in separate incidents, leading to indefinite suspensions for the pair.
According to a report from the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and WJCL in Savannah, Werts was arrested on the night of July 31 while being clocked going 80 mph. After evading attempts to pull Werts over, he “reportedly called 911 to say he planned to drive closer into town to a more well-lit area, Werts was charged with speeding”, according to WJCL.
Once the quarterback was questioned by police, the officers noticed a white powdery substance on the hood of the car, and Werts said it was bird feces. When later tested by police, it came back positive for cocaine. The quarterback was charged with possession of cocaine less than a gram.
Head Coach Chad Lunsford made a statement to the press this morning, with video coming courtesy of WJCL’s Frank Sulkowski on Twitter:
Not a good start. @chadlunsford announces prior to first @GSAthletics_FB practice that Shai Werts and Quan Griffin have been suspended after arrests @WJCLNews pic.twitter.com/5lP2WtbObt— Frank Sulkowski WJCL (@TheBigGuyWJCL) August 2, 2019
Outside of obviously being a terrible view from a public relations standpoint for the Eagles and Werts, this is obviously a huge downgrade on their ceiling as a team this year from a team perspective.
Last season, GS posted a 10-win season with Werts running the high-powered offense, including a nail biting Dec. 15 victory over Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl to close out the year.
Werts was also named MVP in the bowl victory, having rebounded from just a two-win campaign in 2017.
This story will continue to be updated as facts come out about the arrest and Werts’ status with the team.
We will also discuss this in-depth in the coming month as part of our returning Sun Belt podcast where we preview the conference and more heading into the 2019 college season.
Update 8/4/2019 - Werts has passed a voluntary drug test and has returned to practice with the Eagles.
Official statement from @GSAthletics_FB on Werts return. “Quarterback Shai Werts returned to practice today after submitting to, and passing, a drug test. Moving forward, Shai’s case will handled in accordance with the Georgia Southern Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.” pic.twitter.com/297wfJNTRa— Frank Sulkowski WJCL (@TheBigGuyWJCL) August 4, 2019