NORMAN — The misdemeanor marijuana possession charge against Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders was dropped Tuesday due to a lack of evidence.
Defensive back Cortez Johnson, who was arrested with Saunders early Dec. 2, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession and will be placed on probation for six months.
The news was first reported by SoonerScoop.com, the Rivals site that covers OU.
Saunders and Johnson were arrested and charged after being pulled over early in the morning on Dec. 2 — hours after the Sooners’ regular-season finale win at TCU.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops waited until one week before the Cotton Bowl to announce whether Saunders would play, which he did; Saunders caught nine passes for 63 yards in the Sooners’ 41-13 loss to Texas A&M.
Saunders transferred to OU last May from Fresno State, and was expected to sit out this entire season, per NCAA rules. His waiver request for immediate eligibility was initially declined, but that decision was overturned on appeal days before Oklahoma’s fifth game of the season.
Saunders, who will be a senior in the 2013 season, caught 62 passes for 829 yards and three touchdowns over the nine games in which he was eligible.
In his third game this past season — a 30-13 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 27 — Saunders caught a school-record eight passes in the first quarter alone, finishing with 15 receptions for 181 yards.
Saunders made perhaps his biggest impact in the Sooners’ final three games of the regular season. In a Nov. 17 win at West Virginia, he caught seven passes for 123 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown.
The next week, when Oklahoma edged Oklahoma State 51-48 in overtime, Saunders had 10 receptions, 162 yards and one score, and added an 81-yard punt return touchdown.
And in Dec. 1’s victory at TCU, Saunders hauled in seven receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Hours later, he and Johnson were arrested.
Johnson sat out all of last season after transferring from Arizona. He’ll be a redshirt sophomore next season.