Notre Dame senior to be Mike Ragone was charged with a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession after a weekend arrest following a tragic stop on Route 80 a few miles from campus. The arrest and subsequent charges could cost the former prep star the 2010 season.
Ragone was pulled over on Route 80 on Saturday for driving 83 mph in a 70 zone. During the stop, the Indiana state trooper smelled marijuana and was granted permission to search the car during which he found two small bags of pot. According to multiple reports, Ragone admitted that the bags were his to the arresting officer.
News of formal charges broke on Tuesday casting major doubt on Ragone’s status for the 2010 season.
The Kyle McAlarney precedent during the 2006-2007 season suggests that Ragone might not be on the team, or even enrolled in at the University this fall. McAlarney was pulled over in December 2006 with a marijuana cigarette in his ashtray and ended up being kicked out of school in January for the spring semester.
If the same precedent is used for Ragone, his once promising career is about to take another u-turn.
Ragone came to Notre Dame as a very highly touted recruit in the same class as Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, but injuries and now off the field issues have kept Ragone for showcasing his skills on the field.
Heading into the 2008 season, Ragone was a likely candidate for the starting tight end role left vacated by the graduation of John Carlson. A torn ACL in fall camp, however, cost him his entire sophomore season and when he came back last year he wasn’t quite the same.
Ragone was one of the bright spots from last month’s Blue/Gold game and appeared ready to make his mark on the field after three disappointing seasons.
All of that is in serious jeopardy as of right now though.
Should Ragone end up getting suspended, he will be the third backup tight end in as many seasons to be lost to suspension. In 2008, Will Yeatman was lost during the season after a second underage drinking incident. Yeatman would transfer to Maryland shortly after. Last year, Joseph Fauria was suspended for the season and ended up transferring to UCLA.
Without Ragone, Notre Dame will look to sophomores Tyler Eifert and Jake Golic, walkon Bobby Burger, and incoming freshman Alex Welch for depth at a position that has seen some of the best luck on the recruiting trail with equally horrible luck off the field for the Irish in recent years.
No official word has come from the University at this point other than a statement that Brian Kelly is aware of the incident and that he considers it a “serious matter”.