On January 7th, as the blinding spotlight of college football focused on South Florida, the Alabama Crimson Tide, including freshmen Brent Calloway, Eddie Williams, D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes, were on top of the college football world once again.
However, barely a month after that confetti fell, a different spotlight shined on the capstone.
That quartet faced felony charges.
The trouble for Eddie Williams started in the early morning hours of February 10.
Exclusive surveillance footage we secured shows him walking into BP gas station on University Boulevard at 2:45 am.
Police and witnesses say Williams argued with the clerk about how much change they owed him.
Manager Deanthony Garner said he heard Williams threaten the female clerks behind the counter with something he had in his trunk.
"They just pushed the (police emergency) button, when they heard all that, Garner recalled.
Williams and his friends drove off without incident.
Then minutes later the police pulled him over about a mile down University Boulevard at 22nd Avenue.
When officers patted Williams down, they found a pistol in his pocket.
He was arrested and charged with carrying a gun without a license.
He bonded out of jail within hours.
Campus police say Williams took his law breaking behavior to the next level less than 24 hours later.
At 12:30 am, on February 11 a student was walking down a sidewalk near the Ferguson Student Center.
That's when police say that student was attacked by Williams and fellow players D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes.
Multiple kicks and punches knocked that student unconscious.
The student's backpack was stolen with laptop computer inside.
Then just 63 minutes later, police say Williams struck again.
At 1:33 am he's accused of mugging another student right across the street in a parking lot.
Police claim he punched that student multiple times, knocking him out and then stole his wallet.
In that wallet was the student's Action Card, also known as an Act Card, which carries a cash balance for things like food and books.
Three hours after the robberies, arrest records show Brent Calloway swiped the Action Card at a Bryant Hall vending machine, "with knowledge that it was stolen…for numerous purchases".
Within hours, all four players were arrested.
Williams, Pettway and Hayes were charged in the two robberies.
Prosecutors charged Williams and Calloway with fraudulent use of a credit card.
Within two weeks, Head Coach Nick Saban dismissed the four from the football team.
"We've had issues that we haven't had for 5 and a half years on the team which to me says I am going to do this because I can do it," Saban said about three weeks after the arrests.
To dig even deeper, we reached out to both robbery victims.
One did not respond the father of the other said his son did not want to talk until the case is over.
We made multiple trips to Tuscaloosa to question those handling the case.
The District Attorney's Office told us they could not talk because three of the suspects filed for Youthful Offender Status.
We contacted all four defense attorneys.
They either never called us back or said they could not comment.
Campus Police would not give us additional information either.
So we called the former players directly.
Brent Calloway returned my call and agreed to be interviewed for our story.
He admitted Williams gave him the robbery victim's Act Card and that he used it to buy a Dr. Pepper and a Snickers, but he insists he did not find out it was stolen until later.
When asked if he noticed the robbery victim's picture on the card, Calloway responded, "I did not. You know, to us, somebody using your act card is like you loaning somebody a couple dollars. People don't understand like it's natural for somebody to get the card and swipe it and it's not no thing about you, oh, well let me look to see whose name is on it, let me see whose face is on it because all the cards are basically the same, just it's a different face on the card."
When we asked Calloway what led to his arrest, he said police used Bryant Hall security footage of he and Williams at the vending machine to crack the case.
He says he found out his three teammates were accused of mugging students on campus while sitting in a jail holding cell.
"I don't believe that those guys really were intentionally, you know, thinking like thinking about what they were doing. It was just kind of like a heat of the moment type thing for them," Calloway said.
Calloway said when he first met with Nick Saban after the arrest; the head coach could not promise he would remain on the team.
"Coach Saban understood exactly what happened and he understands that I didn't have a big role in it. But at this point I don't feel like it was in Coach Saban's hands any more, you know because of the severity of the situation," Calloway stressed.
While he respects Saban's decision to dismiss all four players from the team, Calloway ultimately feels his punishment does not match his actions.
"All I did was swipe a card, act card, for a Snickers and a Dr. Pepper. All of three or four dollars of food and for four dollars I am getting kicked out of school and kicked off the football team," Calloway concluded.
Four men with the chance to help add to the Crimson Tide's championships must now watch the Tide contend from a distance.
Tyler Hayes was indicted on two counts of robbery second degree.
His next court appearance is in June.
Meanwhile the other three defendants, including Brent Calloway had requested Youthful Offender Status.
If granted, that would seal their case and prevent the public from learning its outcome.
It is unclear whether that request has been granted, but their online court cases, which were open to the public, are now labeled ‘confidential'.
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