Ben Queen/WVMetroNews photo

West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested Monday in Morgantown, faces extradition to Delaware, where police say he will be charged with intimidating the witness in a 2012 murder.


WILMINGTON, Del. — Sophomore running back Wendell Smallwood, projected to be an essential component of West Virginia’s offense this fall, was arrested by campus police Monday and faces extradition to his home state of Delaware where he will be charged with witness intimidation stemming from a 2012 murder case.

Wilmington police told that Smallwood, 20, repeatedly attempted to convince a witness to recant statements implicating his friend who’s charged with first-degree murder.

WVU police declined to discuss details of Monday’s arrest, in which Smallwood was identified as an out-of-state fugitive. Campus police said chief Bob Roberts would be able to provide more information Tuesday.

Attempts by MetroNews to reach Roberts at home Monday night were unsuccessful. Authorities in Wilmington also declined to discuss Smallwood’s case with MetroNews, citing the fact he has yet to be officially charged.

Smallwood averaged 5.7 yards per carry and made 11 catches for 132 yards during a promising freshman season. His versatility drew raves from coaches and teammates during the spring, forging expectations he could fill the role occupied last season by third-round NFL draft pick Charles Sims. He also was expected to make an impact at kick returner.

“Wendell, the way he came on toward the end of the season, was probably our most-improved player throughout the year,” said West Virginia running backs coach JaJuan Seider.

The praise from offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson in recent months was more effusive: “That kid is skilled, but he’s got the mental capacity to handle a lot of different things. We’re trying to push the limits to what we can do with that kid.”

These latest events cloud his future for the 2014 season and possibly beyond.

Zakee Lloyd of Wilmington was arrested Jan. 8, 2013, and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 51-year-old Manuel Oliveras on April 14, 2012. Lloyd continues awaiting trial, Cpl. Mark Ivey told

Ivey alleged that on multiple occasions in March and May 2013 Smallwood “called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements” that implicated Lloyd.

Smallwood played his first three seasons of high school ball at Red Lion Christian Academy in Wilmington. After Red Lion’s football program was dropped, Smallwood joined his coach and several teammates at Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md., becoming a three-star recruit in his senior season.

The timetable for Smallwood’s return to Delaware remains unclear, though the Monongalia County prosecutor’s office said he signed his extradition papers Monday.

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  • JL

    This is not a DUI - or stupid fight in the dorm - this is a felony. One question Smallwood: Did you make the call? If the answer is anything that resembles a "yes" he should be gone immediately.

  • Rex

    How is it known that the statement that Smallwood was pushing for was actually a false statement? Maybe the witness' original statement was false and Smallwood tried to get him to recant and tell the truth.

  • WVU1

    Ultimately did it or not, he needs to make better decisions with what he associates with.

  • donutfiend77

    Let's see if this is a valid charge, or just a ploy to gain attention. Just because something has been stretched to meet the "statutory language", doesn't prove guilt or intent.

  • dwd

    If Smallwood has a clean record and never been in trouble with the courts then even if he is convicted or the charges are reduced for a plea he will be considered a youthfull offender and probably receive a light punishment. I have not seen where he used threats to intimidate anyone to try and get them to change a statement in the case so we need to wait and see what happens. It may be taken care of quickly.

    • Sam

      Exactly. No one has ever handed me evidence to prove he's guilty of this either. Until they put it in my hands, I refuse to believe he would do this. They need to just let him go & apologize to him & us as fans for putting us through this.

      It's a great day to be a Mountaineer!

      • electro

        Now that the word is out that he is on tape discussing the situation with his friend in jail I would say he is pretty much done for. This is a serious crime he should be in jail with his buddy.

  • jay zoom

    these are just allegations - let the courts decide the issue - if guilty burn him at the stake - if not put him back on the field. as for some of the posts - if the victim was your child would you be saying the same thing

    • Sam

      Exactly. And even if he is guilty it's not like actually killed the guy. He just tried to help out a friend, that's all. If anything, he's a great friend & we should reward people for looking out for their friends. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend who would help us out.

      The judge needs to chill out & let his kid get back on the field.

      It's a great day to be a Mountaineer!

  • Steve

    I listen to our "fans" talk about recruiting and it drives me bonkers. You guys "help" it by hammering our coaches and recruits. You don't have a clue about the recruits before they were recruited. You assume these kids are "bad" when they make a mistake. This "kid" is 18-20 years old. He had a buddy somebody said he was trying to help. When you guys had friends at that age you may have did the same thing. Throw the kids under the bus for the sake of our program. If you follow all the schools in the country, they all have problems. Our problems are more the pain in tail fans that continue to bad mouth our different sports program. Recruiting is not a science and if you look at what we have done lately it looks pretty good.

    • Sam

      I agree 100% Who hasn't had a friend accused of murder at one time or another. Smalls was only trying to help a friend out. If anything, his only crime is being guilty of BEING A GOOD FRIEND. The judge needs to do the right thing & let this come back on the field to play so we can BEAT 'BAMA!

      It's a great day to be a Mountaineer!!!

  • eerfan

    Better it happen to a player named Smallwood than a player named Trickett.

  • william

    Your a KID in Elementary School
    Your a KID in Junior High
    Your a KID in High School
    In college YOUR A MAN, not a KID!
    How STUPID for anyone to call these football players KIDS

  • John Riley

    Unless he is on tape, it becomes a he said she said kind of thing. Until it's proven, he is innocent

    • Jonus Grumby

      It's very noble of you to have an open mind on this. I am sure you offered George Zimmerman the same benefit of the doubt when he was arrested.

      • Jason412

        Jonus Grumby,

        Yeah, what an equal comparison, because this is the exact same scenario as Zimmerman. After all, killing someone and interfering with a witness are pretty much one in the same.

        • Jonus Grumby

          Since you are so quick to dismiss the question, apparently you did not. The principle is still the same, regardless of the crime; innocent until proven guilty. Your response is disingenuous.

        • Aaron

          The presumption of innocence is supposed to be identical.

          • Jason412


            I'm not saying it's not. However, in the Zimmerman case there was never a question whether he killed Martin or not, it was whether the killing was justifiable. In this case, it's not known if Smallwood actually said the things of which he is accused.

            That is where the difference in the scenario's lie. A court will not try to determine whether Smallwood interfered with a witness, but did so legally. In the Zimmerman case, the court did not decide whether Zimmerman killed Martin, they were to decide whether it was legal or illegal.

  • caccamo

    Some of you people need to be quiet for a little while and just read. I don't know whether the kid did it or he didn't do this. I do know one thing though, the justice system isn't exactly a fountain of truth either. Wait for the dust to settle before judging.

    • Molon Labe

      Well, enough PC to issue a warrant.

      • caccamo

        PC doesn't mean he has been convicted, no reason for people to sit and trash things until its final. Even Judge Thornsbury issued warrants on PC.

        • Molon Labe

          Read again as I said "enough PC to issue a warrant". I never said convict.

          You did.

          PC is enough to ruin his season and maybe his career.

  • Nathan

    It disgusts me that every time something negative happens its Holgs fault. This kid either made this decision on his own or he is innocent. Before this he seemed to be trouble free. It's a shame though because he would have been one of our most productive offensive weapons this season.

  • Diaspora

    I suppose a transfer to Marshall is in his future.

  • nashville cat

    it all depends on his accuser, and just how trustworthy he may be.. It's now a wait and see, game... Let's all hope it works out for the best for this young man,,,remember, everyone of us has made a bad choice along the way.

  • daddyo

    it's a shame, some people have a harder time breaking old habits. this young man can still make a go of it,,, remember innocent until proven guilty.Let's hope it works out, and he actually was falsely accused.