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When Alabama cornerback Eli Ricks was arrested Sunday afternoon near Laurel, Mississippi on charges of speeding and marijuana possession, he was driving a 2018 Mercedes Benz BTM, according to Jones County Justice Court and Mississippi Highway Patrol records.
Alabama coach Nick Saban owns Mercedes Benz dealerships.
Saban has had no comment on Ricks, who was released by signature bond with no fee Monday afternoon after spending Sunday night at the Jones County jail in Ellisville, Mississippi. He appeared in court on Monday and pled not guilty.
The Mercedes model that Ricks was driving is valued at more than $40,000.
Jones County Justice Court Judge C. Grant Hedgepeth on Monday set a court date for June 23 at 9 a.m. According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, which pulled Ricks over Sunday afternoon, Ricks was going 91 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 59 near Laurel headed north. Patrolmen spotted marijuana and found that he had no proof of insurance.
Ricks was arrested on misdemeanor charges of first time marijuana possession, speeding and driving with no proof of insurance.
“Rammer jammer in the slammer,” said the Laurel Leader Call newspaper headline on Tuesday.
Saban had a speaking engagement at his Legacy Awards ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama Monday night, but he was not asked about it during media interviews.
A first offense for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, according to Mississippi law, would get Ricks a fine of $100 to $250. That will be easier to pay now, depending on what kind of package Ricks may have at Alabama or will be having with the new Name, Image and Likeness rules that allow college players to be compensated.
Ricks was the No. 1 cornerback in the nation out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and the No. 6 overall prospect when he signed with LSU before the 2020 season. He struggled early in 2020, but finished with four interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown, and was named to the Football Writers Association freshman All-American team during a 5-5 season.
He played in only six games last season at LSU because of injuries amid a 6-7 campaign, then transferred to Alabama in December. Before IMG, Ricks played at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, California, which is where Alabama Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young played.
During Alabama’s spring game last month, Ricks was on the second team behind veteran cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson.
“The biggest thing for Eli is learning the system,” Saban said after Alabama’s spring game on April 16. “And sometimes it’s even more difficult for guys that played in a system.”
Ricks is on his third defensive system in three years as he played on two poor defenses at LSU in 2020 under coordinator Bo Pelini and in 2021 under coordinator Daronte Jones, neither of whom were retained following their respective seasons. Pelini had not coordinated a defense since 2007 at LSU when he returned to LSU in 2020. And Jones had never been a coordinator in major college before coming to LSU in 2021.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was fired midway through last season and replaced in early December by Brian Kelly, and Ricks soon left.
“So he knew a system, now he’s got to sort of enturbulate some of the things that they did to some of the things that we’re doing, and we call it something different,” Saban said last month. “So you’ve got to work through that learning curve. But he’s a very conscientious guy and works hard at it, takes coaching well, wants to please.”