COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s third-team quarterback and fourth-leading rusher has been accused of offering a female police officer $20 for sex, authorities said Tuesday.
Antonio Henton, a redshirt freshman, completed a pass in four attempts for 20 yards and also ran for 31 yards on seven carries in the eighth-ranked Buckeyes’ 58-7 win over Northwestern on Saturday.
Columbus police arrested him at 8:30 p.m. Monday south of campus.
Henton, 20, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Franklin County Municipal Court to the misdemeanor charge. He was released on bond later Tuesday, according to court records.
Judge Amy Salerno told Henton to consider his visibility in the community and his status as an “ambassador” for his school.
“I, as well as I’m sure many fans and graduates of Ohio State University, are very disappointed to see you here today in my courtroom,” Salerno told Henton.
Lara Baker, chief prosecutor in the city’s attorney’s office, said the soliciting charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, but generally results in a small fine.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Henton will not travel to Minnesota for Saturday’s game.
“What’s most disappointing to me is that our guys know deep down what is expected. And when we err — in other words, a player, a coach or whomever — that’s disappointing,” Tressel said at a midday media briefing Tuesday.
The coach said he had not yet spoken with Henton.
There was no phone listing at the address for Henton in suburban Hilliard provided in court records, and a phone listing was not available for his defense attorney, Tasha Ruth. A message seeking comment was sent to Henton’s e-mail address found in Ohio State’s online student directory.
Henton, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, is from Fort Valley, Ga. He fought for the starting quarterback job last spring but had less game experience than starter Todd Boeckman and backup Rob Schoenhoft. Henton is in the mold of last year’s starter, Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith — mobile and able to escape pressure, with a strong arm.
In the Buckeyes’ 38-6 win over Youngstown State in the season opener, he threw a
37-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Taurian Washington.
On the season, Henton is
3-for-6 passing for 57 yards with the one touchdown and no interceptions. He has rushed for 41 yards on nine carries.
BUCKEYE BUZZ: For the first time this season, we bring you: Read the Coach’s Mind!
As those of you who play along at home know, these are actual quotes about Saturday’s opponent (Minnesota) from Jim Tressel’s news conference Tuesday — followed by a bit of interpretation.
Now, let’s play the game:
What he said: “They’ve not gotten off to a couple good starts (but) they are storming all the way to the last play of the game.”
What he means: “They’ve been outscored 99-31 in the first half! Man, in the second half the opponents are worn out from all that celebrating in the end zone.”
What he said: “I really like this quarterback (Adam Weber) that the Gophers have.”
What he means: “I’m trying not to talk about a defense giving up 39 points a game.”
What he said: “Our guys know that we’ve got a challenge coming up.”
What he means: “Just like last week when we smoked Northwestern 45-0 in the first half.”
INJURY UPDATE: Backup TB Brandon Saine, who missed last week with an undisclosed injury, is considered “50-50” for the game at Purdue next week and a lock for the week after that. Fellow frosh WR Dane Sanzenbacher will play at Minnesota.
Chris “Beanie” Wells had another big game on Saturday, then complained about a nagging ankle injury afterward.
“You know, that happens sometimes,” Tressel said Tuesday. “I’m sure if you talk to Archie Griffin or Eddie George or any of those guys that carried the ball a lot, they’d tell you that it’s probably Wednesday or so before they’re really feeling good.”
In other words, Wells will be fine.
Finally, DE Lawrence Wilson (broken leg) would be available for a potential bowl game.
HIT MAN: Jamario O’Neal was awarded the biggest hit of the week for his tackle on kickoff coverage. The decision was rendered by a jury of his peers based on how loudly they clapped and cheered for each of the four nominees.
NO. 2 WITH A SILVER BULLET: Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in the nation in total defense, No. 5 against the pass and No. 7 against the run. Yet S Kurt Coleman sees room for improvement.
“Honestly, I think we can always play better,” he said. “Our motto is ‘Never Satisfied’ and we have to get better every week because there’s always stuff we have to work on.”