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Former USF quarterback loses coaching job

Former South Florida quarterback Marquel Blackwell was removed from being head football coach at Freedom High School on Monday.

Blackwell, who played at USF from 1998-2002 and set numerous school records, was arrested and charged with DUI on Jan. 5.

“We are going a different direction with our football program,” Chris Farkas, Freedom principal, said to The Tampa Tribune.

A Tampa Police report said an officer pulled over a 2007 Dodge Charger driven by Blackwell at a red light at E. Columbus Drive and N. Dale Mabry Highway. A computer check showed the owner had a suspended license.

“The driver headed eastbound on Columbus Drive and drifted into the left lane,” the report stated. “The vehicle was pulled over and a traffic stop was conducted. When asked for a license, the driver handed the officer a blue Visa card instead.”

The report said Blackwell was then taken into custody.

“When the officer spoke with the driver there was the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage stemming from his breath,” it said. “The driver consented to a field sobriety test and exhibited clues of impairment. He was then placed under arrest.”

Blackwell declined to take a breath test and was later released on $500 bail.

Calls to Blackwell were not returned.

Blackwell set a USF record in 2001, throwing for 2,882 yards in a single season. After redshirting his freshman year in 1998, he started four years and threw for over 9,000 yards in his career.

Blackwell, who won 30 games as a starter, played under current USF coach Jim Leavitt.

Leavitt was out of town  Monday and unavailable for comment.