Here’s what we know about the Hamilton High School hazing arrests.
One of the top defensive players on Chandler Hamilton’s football team announced that he’s transferring to rival Chandler High, but junior defensive end/outside lineback Brayden Flynn stopped short of saying the decision had anything to do with recent arrests at Hamilton.
Flynn, one of the state’s top prospects who had 14 ½ sacks last season, said in an electronic message Tuesday evening, “I am being withdrawn from Hamilton in the morning and transferring to Chandler tomorrow.”
Asked if it had to do with the trouble surrounding the football program, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Flynn stated, “It was a family decision, it was just time to move on.”
Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said as of Tuesday that no Hamilton players have transferred in since last week. Sophomore strong safety Avery Carrington transferred in January from Hamilton to Chandler, well before news of the Hamilton assault investigation broke. Carrington had 41 tackles and three interceptions last season. He is considered one of the state’s top 2019 prospects.
Hamilton’s football community was rocked last week when six players were arrested in connection to hazing incidents that spanned 17 months. Three of the players were charged. One of them, junior defensive back Nathaniel Thomas Harris, 17, was charged as an adult by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with one count of sexual assault, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of molestation.
It appears that transfers from Hamilton will have an easier time winning hardship appeals with the Arizona Interscholastic Association and not have to miss games, because of the circumstances.
On Monday, the Chandler Unified School District said that coach Steve Belles has been reassigned to home for an indefinite amount of time and that it was not disciplinary. He could return as teacher and coach, CUHSD spokesman Terry Locke said.
Meanwhile, there are Hamilton football players standing by their school.
Running back Jawhar Jordan, the team’s top 2018 college recruit who has offers from Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas and Missouri, says he is staying put.
“Staying true to my school,” Jordan wrote in an electronic message.
Junior defensive tackle Colin Maslin, one of the team’s top defensive players, wrote this to azcentral sports:
“What happened at our school is absolutely tragic. My heart goes out not only to the victims and their families but to my football family. Hamilton will work through these challenging times. Difficult times truly define who you are as a person. I am confident that myself and my teammates will become stronger as a football team and as individuals. Hamilton football teaches honor, integrity, and strong values. It’s our words and our actions that build our character. It’s our character that defines us. We have leadership that wants the best for us and as a player. I want to help bring the best back to them and to the school. I respect the decisions of any of my brothers that feel leaving is the best thing for them. For me, I have only been a Husky and have grown as a player and young man under this program.”
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert