On a team in need of playmakers, the Idaho Vandals football team won't have its best one next season.
Coach Paul Petrino announced Sunday that senior receiver Dezmon Epps has been dismissed from the Vandals for violating team rules. Epps was arrested on a DUI charge in April and was sentenced to one day in jail and two years' probation after pleading guilty in June.
Epps led Idaho with 79 catches and 980 receiving yards last season and scored four touchdowns. His 6.6 receptions per game were tied for 24th in the nation and 12th-most among players returning this season. He also was the primary punt returner with 138 yards on 20 returns and had 283 yards on 14 kickoff returns. The speedy Epps had three games with 100 or more receiving yards, including 126 at Florida State on Nov. 23.
“We have the highest standards and expectations for our players as student-athletes and citizens,” Petrino said in a statement. “We clearly outline the consequences when these expectations are not met.”
The Vandals' top returning receiver is Coeur d'Alene High graduate Deon Watson (24 catches, 279 yards). The team's receiving corps was expected to be a strength of the team with young talents like Watson (a sophomore), fellow sophomore Jacob Sannon and redshirt freshman Rueben Mwehla in addition to junior college transfers Jermaine Johnson and Kenny Torrence.
Idaho, which was ninth out of 11 in the Sun Belt Conference preseason coaches' poll on Saturday, opens the season Aug. 30 at Florida.
UPDATE: According to the Idaho Repository, Epps was charged with misdemeanor petit theft Sunday. He's scheduled for a pre-trial hearing next week.