Darta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe and HoJo Watkins charged with home invasion, armed robbery

Three Illini football players booked on charges of home invasion and armed robbery.

Illinois football players Darta LeeZarrian Holcombe and Howard "HoJo" Watkins Jr. were arrested and booked in the Champaign County Jail on Wednesday morning on charges of home invasion and armed robbery.

Lee, 18, was booked at  6:27 a.m. Wednesday, and Holcombe, 19, was booked at 10:22 a.m. Both players are from Texas: Lee from Fresno, Texas, and Holcombe from Houston. Watkins, a true freshman, was booked at 10:58 a.m.

All are scheduled for an arraignment hearing 1:30 p.m. Thursday. 

Lovie Smith released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying that Holcombe and Lee were currently serving a suspension for violation of team rules prior to the incident. They will remain suspended, and Watkins is now suspended indefinitely from team activities. 

“These allegations, if true, fail to live up to the standards we expect of our student-athletes," Smith said. "We continue to gather information and will take appropriate steps based upon what we learn.”

The News-Gazette's Mary Schenk has more details on the alleged armed robbery.

Lee, a Fresno (Texas) native, played in six games as a true freshman, including two starts. He was the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in 20 years. Lee was battling for a starting spot in spring practice.

Holcombe played seven games, mostly on special teams. He was recruited as a tight end but played receiver last season. He move to defensive end during the spring.

Watkins, a Cincinnati native, arrived on campus in January,

This story is developing.


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