JACKSON, Miss. -- Two former Mississippi State players were given suspended sentences for firing guns on campus in March.
Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard gave Michael Brown two years suspended and Quinton Wesley three years suspended. Each will be on probation during the sentence and could serve time in jail if he does not meet all the requirements.
"Had the judge felt as if they were shooting at anybody, I believe the outcome would've been a little different," Assistant District Attorney Frank Clark said. "But the judge was convinced -- and I think rightfully so -- that they weren't shooting at anybody so much as just shooting guns up in the air and being stupid. The problem is it put so many people in danger."
Brown and Wesley waived their right to a grand jury hearing and pleaded guilty last Friday to the felony of bringing firearms onto educational property. They faced up to three years in prison. Howard said Wesley's sentence was longer because he has a simple assault conviction on his record.
Brown and Wesley were arrested March 27 after an altercation that started off campus earlier in the day, then continued near several residence halls that evening.
Campus police Detective Don Bartlett "described it as a stare-down kind of deal," Clark said of testimony offered to Howard on Tuesday.
The two were kicked off the team and dismissed from the university soon after their arrests.
Three other players still face grand jury indictment for what coach Sylvester Croom has called an indirect connection to the cases of Brown and Wesley.
Croom told fans in Tupelo last week that former starting cornerback Anthony Johnson, reserve linebacker Jamon Hughes and reserve defensive lineman Rodney Prince are not enrolled in school. Hughes likely will transfer, while a spokesman said Johnson and Prince could still return to Mississippi State, depending on the outcome of the grand jury hearing in July.
If they do return, however, they will have to sit out next season under NCAA eligibility rules.
The Bulldogs have lost nine players who have left the team voluntarily or been dismissed since the end of their breakthrough 8-5 season.
Two reserve quarterbacks, Michael Henig and Josh Riddell, quit. Three others -- defensive backs Demario Bobo and Keon Humphries and linebacker Anthony Littlejohn -- decided to skip their fifth years after Croom told them they were unlikely to make the 70-man roster.
Littlejohn has since returned to the team after serving as a student coach during spring drills, a spokesman said, and Bobo has been invited to try out at Cleveland Browns rookie camp.
Croom and athletic director Larry Templeton were both out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment.
Brown's loss will be the most difficult to overcome. He was Mississippi State's best offensive lineman and a likely NFL prospect. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound College Park, Ga., native started 18 of 19 games he's been eligible for since transferring from Florida and was featured on the cover of Mississippi State's spring media guide.
He was an honorable mention pick on The Associated Press' All-Southeastern Conference team after last season.
Wesley, a 6-4, 315-pound sophomore backup left defensive tackle from Atlanta, played in 21 games with one start. He had 19 tackles and one forced fumble last season and was expected to be a regular contributor next season.