Cedar Creek High School graduate and starting Rutgers cornerback Malachi “Max” Melton has been suspended for the team’s game at Michigan on Saturday.
Melton, a redshirt freshman, and teammate graduate Chris Long were suspended for the nationally televised (3:30 p.m. on ABC) game following a paintball gun shooting incident Monday night, coach Greg Schiano said in a statement Tuesday morning.
Melton and Long, a redshirt freshman and Willingboro High School graduate, were each charged with three counts of aggravated assault and a weapons count.
“I was informed that Chris Long and Malachi Melton were taken into police custody early this morning as a result of an incident involving a paintball gun. Both players have been suspended immediately,” said Schiano.
The charges stem from an incident Monday night in the area of the school’s Livingston campus in Piscataway.
University police said the incident occurred about 10 p.m. Monday. The three students hit by the paintballs suffered minor injuries but declined medical attention at the scene.
A subsequent investigation led to the arrests early Tuesday of the 19-year-old players, who were released on their own recognizance. They are due to make their initial court appearances Nov. 4.
Melton has been one of the breakout players for the Scarlet Knights this season. He leads the team with two interceptions and four pass breakups in three games.
During the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Melton had 21 total tackles.
Two weeks ago, following Rutgers’ win over Syracuse, Schiano praised Melton’s play.
“Max is, I think, playing at a high level right now,” Schiano said on Sept. 13. “He’s doing a good job.”
Melton had originally committed to fellow Big Ten member Purdue, but later switched his commitment to Rutgers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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