GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A former Florida Gators football player from Jacksonville is working to clear his name after sexual assault and false imprisonment charges against him were dropped.
Daniel McMillian spoke to News4Jax on Friday about the sexual assault accusations that got him kicked off the University of Florida football team.
"I was actually in jail and I received a letter saying that I could no longer be on the University of Florida property," McMillian said. "I was emotional. But then again, I had in my mind and I knew for a fact I didn't do it. So I knew that justice would come through."
Daniel McMillian (13) after intercepting a pass during the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Right before the NFL Draft, McMillian, 23, was arrested April 6 and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment after a woman falsely accused him of locking her in a room inside a Gainesville apartment and exposing himself.
The charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence, according to court records. McMillian said the woman lied, possibly hoping to make money.
"The things that were in the newspaper and on the news, they were false. I honestly can't talk about much, but I know for a fact it was a lie," McMillian said. "None of it happened."
He's back in school at UF and set to graduate in four weeks. But McMillian is now forced to start over on his dreams.
"It was a hard time. Basically, I had to start from the bottom," he said. "I had to try to rebuild my name to show people I wasn't this monster people tried to create me to be."
News4Jax archive footage of Daniel McMillian (13) on the field during First Coast High football game
McMillian, a linebacker, played in seven games as a senior for the Gators last season. Before that, he was a local standout with the First Coast High School Buccaneers.
For now, his football dreams are on hold.
"Just being at the University of Florida, that's the top-of-the-line school for football. So that's you having a chance to go to the NFL," McMillian told News4Jax. "I think she did look at me as a paycheck and a way out."
He also offered some advice for other players, saying if they have dreams of going pro, they need to watch who they're hanging around.
McMillian said he learned the hard way that some people are out to get you.
"Never put yourself in a position where you could possibly be lied on without anything to prove it. Never put yourself in that position," he said. "Just know who is around and have good people around you. If they have a feeling in their gut, go with that feeling and that instinct."
While he's hanging up his cleats, McMillian said he wants to stay in athletics and become a strength and conditioning coach.
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