Michigan defensive lineman Mazi Smith is facing a felony weapons charge.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the charge against Smith was filed on Wednesday stemming from an alleged Oct. 7 incident in Ann Arbor. No details about the incident were available. The charge relates to carrying a concealed weapon.
In a statement, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said the charge came as a result of a traffic stop.
Smith was not arrested at the scene, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit told MLive.com. That led to the nearly two-month delay in the charge being filed.
Smith was not arrested at the scene of the incident, which meant further investigation was required, Savit said. His office received the report on the Smith incident from the Ann Arbor Police Department on Oct. 14, he said.
“In those circumstances, about a month before we authorize charges is pretty commonplace,” he said. “He was not in custody.”
“It can sometimes take significantly longer than (a month and a half), actually,” Savit added.
Manuel said “based on the information communicated” to the Michigan athletic department, the school feels comfortable allowing Smith to continue to play. Smith, a senior defensive tackle, is one of Michigan’s best players.
“We are aware of the charge against Mazi from a traffic stop back in October. Mazi was honest, forthcoming and cooperative from the very beginning and is a tremendous young man. He is not and never has been considered a threat to the university or community,” Manuel said. “Based on the information communicated to us, we will continue to allow the judicial process to play out. Mazi will continue to participate as a member of the team.”
Added Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh: “I have respect for our judicial process and with that respect brings confidence that a fair and just resolution is forthcoming. Mazi’s character and the trust that he has earned over the past four years will continue to be considered throughout the process.”
Smith has played in all 12 games for Michigan this season, including last week’s Big Ten East-clinching victory over Ohio State. Smith has 43 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
The Wolverines, now 12-0 and No. 2 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, will face Purdue on Saturday in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.
With a win, Michigan would be guaranteed a spot in the four-team playoff.