Atlantic High School graduate
Preston Parker, who was named Florida State's football MVP last season, was arrested on gun and drug charges in Palm Beach Gardens and booked early Tuesday.
Parker, 21, was charged with carrying a concealed .45-caliber handgun and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
The gun charge is a felony, which would prevent Parker from playing in any games if the charge is not reduced or resolved by the time the season starts Sept. 6. He will be a junior next season.
Parker was booked into Palm Beach County jail and released Tuesday afternoon on $5,000 bond. Parker, who graduated from Atlantic in 2006, plays receiver for the Seminoles.
"We are aware of Preston's arrest and are gathering the facts of the situation," Florida State Athletics Director Randy Spetman said. "We have an Athletics Code of Conduct/Discipline Policy in place for all student-athletes and once we've thoroughly reviewed the details of the incident, we will handle the situation according to that policy."
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden was asked about Parker at his boosters tour stop Tuesday night in Lake City.
"I'll find out what happened,'' Bowden said. "What I heard is he got into some trouble. I can't answer it because I don't know the details. ... I wish it wasn't true.''
According to FSU's athletics code of conduct, any athlete charged with a felony is not allowed to compete in any games until the case is resolved in court.
The substance-abuse policy states that an arrest for marijuana possession counts as one positive drug test. After two positive tests the athlete is automatically suspended and after three positives he or she is dismissed from the team. Parker has not failed any drug tests.
The head coach determines the disciplinary action following a misdemeanor charge, which also is reviewed by the athletic director, according to athletic department policy.
Parker is expected to be in Tallahassee this week for final exams. He came home to Delray Beach last week after classes concluded. The arrest was Parker's second since signing with the Seminoles.
Tallahassee police charged him with petty theft in 2006 after he was caught attempting to steal a $10 DVD from a Best Buy. He entered a diversion agreement that would lead to the charges being dismissed.
According to the arrest report, an officer spotted Parker's red Dodge Charger with dark tinted windows in the parking lot of the Inns of America hotel in Palm Beach Gardens at 10:40 p.m. Monday. The officer followed the vehicle, which sped out of the lot and pulled onto the street, parking a few blocks away with the lights off. The officer approached the driver because the windows were too dark and smelled marijuana.
Parker said he was planning to meet up with a friend's uncle on Blue Heron Boulevard, even though he was driving in the opposite direction. He said he pulled into the residential parking spot because he saw the patrol car. The officer saw pieces of marijuana on the floorboard, searched the vehicle and found a pill bottle for prednisone prescribed to Parker that contained marijuana.
Under the dash of the right passenger side of the vehicle, the officer found a loaded .45-caliber handgun and a baggie with 4.8 grams of marijuana. Parker told police a friend bought him the gun at a gun show, but he said he was not aware there was marijuana in the vehicle. There were three passengers in his vehicle. All told police they did not know about the gun or drugs.
Parker's brother, Doug, works for the department of children and families in Winter Haven. He was unaware of his brother's arrest when contacted by a reporter Tuesday.
"I don't know what's going on," said Doug, the leading rusher in FAU history. "My main concern is to protect my brother."
Parker emerged as FSU's top offensive threat last year and was named to the All-ACC second team. He led FSU with 1,513 all-purpose yards, including 791 receiving.