Gamecocks football commit arrested, facing felony charges in Florida

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South Carolina class of 2022 football commitment Jy’Vonte McClendon is facing felony charges related to what appears to have been a road rage incident last week in Florida.

McClendon was arrested by the Lakeland Police Department on Nov. 28, according to public records made available online by the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. He was charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, and with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, according to those same online records. He was released from jail on Dec. 1.

According to an incident report from the Lakeland Police Department, a “brief verbal altercation” happened around 3:50 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28 when a parked car of an unidentified woman blocked another car driven by McClendon’s mother. The owner of the parked car was delivering food to her grandmother, according to police.

McClendon was a passenger in the latter car, which left the scene and drove a short distance away after the initial altercation, according to the police report. The occupants of McClendon’s mother’s car then walked back to the incident location, at which point arguing continued, police said.

At that point, according to the police report, the woman was in her car and attempting to drive away. McClendon then ran back to his mother’s car, the police report said, and “retrieved a semi-automatic handgun from his mother’s bag in the back seat.”

McClendon used the gun, according the report, “and shot one round into the front windshield which struck directly in front of the victim, who was still seated in the driver seat.”

McClendon told police, the report said, that he believed the woman “was attempting to strike his mother with her vehicle” and that he only shot the gun to try and scare her.

The charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill is a class three felony, according to Florida statue 784.021. A class three felony in Florida can result in five years incarceration in state prison and a $5,000 fine, according to the Florida-based law firm Goldman Wetzel.

Shooting into an occupied vehicle is classified as a second-degree felony, according to Florida statute 790.19. If guilty, a second-degree felony in Florida is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000, according to Goldman Wetzel.

The early signing period for football players begins Wednesday. McClendon is not expected to be part of South Carolina’s signing class.

McClendon is rated a three-star defensive back recruit, the No. 593 player and the No. 50 safety in the 2022 class, per the 247Sports Composite. He made a verbal commitment to South Carolina in June over Miami. His other offers also included Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech.

McClendon had 37 tackles, two interceptions and four pass break-ups as a junior at Lake Gibson High School, located in Lakeland, Florida. He returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown.

The State called Keith Barefield — McClendon’s head football coach at Lake Gibson — who said he could not comment on the matter.

The State also reached out to the Polk County School Board via email and phone, but requests for comment were not immediately returned by the time of publication.

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