STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University junior quarterback Shai Werts spoke to reporters Saturday for the first time since his drug charges were dropped.
“I knew the truth would eventually come out. I just didn’t know how long it would take. I’m glad it came out kind of fast," Werts said.
Last week, GS suspended Werts after he was arrested on drug charges in South Carolina. The Saluda County Sheriff’s Office pulled the starting quarterback over for speeding. During the traffic stop, deputies questioned Werts about a white substance on the hood of his car.
According to the report, one deputy tested the powder with a cocaine kit while the other deputies served as backup on the scene. The report claims the powder tested positive twice in the field. Werts claimed the substance was bird poop. A lab test, conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, cleared him and those charges were dropped.
"It was more frustration than anything, because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m glad it’s over with,” Werts said.
After news that the charges were dropped, the university announced Werts’ suspension had been lifted. He returned to practice and participated in Saturday’s scrimmage.
It was business as usual for the quarterback. He scored a touchdown in the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp.
He said he was amazed at the outpouring of support from fans, but missing the start of fall camp hit him hard.
“Fall camp, you know what I’m saying, is the start of it. You get real anxious to get out there, so, you know, when something gets taken away that you love, it sucks and I had to suffer through that- seeing my teammates all on Instagram and Snapchat having fun, but it sucked to miss out on those first two days,” Werts said.
He said that the worst part of the whole ordeal was having to have the conversation and tell people what happened.
“When I first got out, that’s probably the only time I cried, having to face my family- just me thinking, like, I had upset them, but I knew they- I knew they really knew and talking to coach- I was just honest with him. I told him exactly what happened," Werts said.
GS head coach Chad Lunsford also spoke to the media Saturday, saying he was proud of how his quarterback handled himself throughout the week of turmoil.
“I see a young man that is strong in his character. Strong in his faith. A young man that, you know, got put in a tough situation and handled it well. Handled it really well. He understands the part about speeding and that that’s wrong, but was able to take the adversity and move on from it, so, very proud of how he handled it. Very proud of how our team handled it," Lunsford said. “I got our guys’ backs. If they’ve done wrong, they’ll be held accountable. If they haven’t done wrong, then we’ll move on.”
Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein announced on Friday that Werts’ two practice suspension was enough punishment for a speeding ticket and that he would be available for game one against LSU on the Aug. 31.
WTOC Sports Reporter Lyndsey Gough attended Saturday’s scrimmage and spoke directly to Werts and Lunsford.