Facing gun charges, Michigan's Mazi Smith 'will continue to participate as member of the team'


On Tuesday, Michigan co-captain and senior defensive lineman Mazi Smith was named first-team All-Big Ten.

On Wednesday, he was charged in Washtenaw County court with carrying a concealed weapon, stemming from an incident that took place Oct. 7 in Ann Arbor, as first reported by the Free Press. The felony charges could carry a fine up to $2,500.

It is not immediately clear why it took nearly two months for charges to be filed.

In statements released Thursday, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel acknowledged the charges and said that Smith "will continue to participate as a member of the team" as the judicial process plays out.

Harbaugh said that his "respect for our judicial process ... 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 No. 2 Michigan this season, including its win over Indiana the day after the alleged incident occurred. A potential first-round pick in the NFL Draft, he also starred in the Wolverines' win over Ohio State last Saturday.

"Mazi was honest, forthcoming and cooperative from the very beginning and is a tremendous young man," said Manuel. "He is not and never has been considered a threat to the University or community."

The Wolverines play Purdue on Saturday for the Big Ten championship, with a spot in the College Football Playoff on the horizon.

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