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OSU recruit Berry caught with pot in Miami

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Before he has played a down for the Ohio State, recruit Jaamal Berry has run afoul of the law.

Berry, the highly touted running back from Miami who is expected to compete for the position vacated when Beanie Wells left Columbus a year early for the NFL, was arrested in his hometown late last week.

According to the record of his arrest, Berry was pulled over for running a stoplight on Miami's southwest side, and police noticed a bag of marijuana in the back seat of the Nissan Altima Berry was driving. The official report of the incident said the bag held more than 28 grams of pot.

The police account of the traffic stop said Berry told them he had purchased the marijuana an hour before his arrest. He was taken to a Miami correctional facility, and later released on bond. Berry has been charged with felony drug possession, which could carry a penalty of up to five years in jail and a fine of $5,000. Court records indicate a hearing in Berry's case is set for July 2.

Ohio State football spokesman Shelly Poe said yesterday coach Jim Tressel and the university were waiting to see how the situation in Florida is resolved and that Berry's status with the Buckeyes had not changed. Tressel told the Columbus Dispatch he was awaiting more information on the case.

"Obviously, any time guys get into situations that you'd rather not have them in, it's disappointing," Tressel said. "But before you take too many opinions in your own mind, you find out what the story is and what's going to be the future of it."

Berry (5-11, 195) is coveted for his speed and explosive running style. Most recruiting services had him rated as one of the top backs in the country last fall. He has run a 4.31 second 40-yard dash.

During his senior season at Miami Palmetto High, Berry played in just five of 12 games due to wrist and ankle injuries. As a junior, he gained 1,033 yards and had 14 touchdowns in 10 games.

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.

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