Tarrant back after charges dropped

Suspended Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets cornerback Jerrard Tarrant has been reinstated by coach Paul Johnson after charges of rape were recently dropped against Tarrant.

Johnson suspended Tarrant indefinitely in June 2008, and Tarrant was not allowed to participate in any football-related function or wear his uniform. Tarrant, who redshirted as a true freshman in 2007, has three years of eligibility remaining.

"After learning that all charges against Jerrard Tarrant have been dropped, he has been fully reinstated to the Georgia Tech football program," Johnson said in a prepared statement. "It is unfortunate that Jerrard lost a year of eligibility in the process, but the charges against him were something that we took very seriously."

In spring practice last year, Tarrant emerged as a front-runner to start at cornerback, and could do the same this spring. The Yellow Jackets need a replacement for Jahi Word-Daniels, who graduated, and Tarrant is now a likely option.

He'll have to compete with Mario Butler and Rashaad Reid, who stepped in as a true freshman and started when Word-Daniels was hurt. The Yellow Jackets start practice March 23.

Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.