Miss. St. player takes plea deal, joins team

Sep 16, 2009 - 10:31 PM By CHRIS TALBOTT Associated Press Writer

JACKSON, Miss.(AP) -- Mississippi State will allow Maurice Langston to join the team after the defensive back took a plea deal following his arrest for marijuana possession.

Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen issued a statement Wednesday noting that Langston has done everything asked of him since his arrest for possession of about a pound of marijuana with intent to distribute last February in Hattiesburg.

"He has remained enrolled in school in the spring, summer and now fall," Mullen said in the statement. "He has worked out on his own throughout this time. He has worked and will continue to work to fulfill every phase of his discipline as it relates to the football team and athletic department."

Forrest and Perry counties district attorney Jon Mark Weathers says Langston received five years probation after making a plea to the lesser charge of possession and will serve 500 hours of community service. The probation term was the longest allowed under the deal.

Langston, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound Meridian native who played at East Central Mississippi Community College, could have faced up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine if convicted on the original charge. But Weathers felt Langston was a good risk.

"We checked his background out pretty thoroughly," Weathers said. "He made good grades. Everybody we talked to from his past had good comments for him and were surprised by this. It appeared to be out of character. ... We just felt like under all the circumstances he's got potential and we're willing to give him a chance."

Mullen says Langston will remain on "team probation." It's not clear from Mullen's statement when Langston will play. Spokesman Joe Galbraith says similar language was used after Anthony Dixon's one-game suspension for a DUI conviction was lifted two weeks ago. The tailback played the next week against Auburn.

"We're happy to have Maurice back and look forward to him making a positive impact on this football team, this university and this community," Mullen's statement said.

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