Ohio State junior defensive tackle Doug Worthington pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol Thursday morning at the Franklin County Municipal Court.
Worthington, 20, from Buffalo, N.Y., will next face a jury trial. A date for that trial was not immediately set, but Judge Carrie E. Glaeden said it would be forthcoming in the near future.
Worthington and his attorney, John Waddy, declined comment after Wednesday’s hearing. Also working the case on Worthington’s behalf is attorney Toki Clarke.
Worthington’s father – Douglas Worthington – was also at the courthouse to show support for his son. Bucknuts.com spoke briefly with the elder Worthington.
“Doug has always been a good kid and a good young man – he’s never been in trouble before in his life,” Douglas Worthington said. “However, he knows he was out too late and he needs to handle this like a man. And that’s what he is doing. When the facts come out, hopefully it goes our way, but he knows he shouldn’t be out that late.
“And like I said, even going back to when he was a young child, Doug never got into trouble. He’s never been in trouble in high school or since he’s been here in Columbus. He’s never seen a courthouse before. So, this will be a lesson learned for him.”
Doug Worthington was cited by OSU Police early Saturday morning for DUI following a traffic stop on campus.
Worthington was stopped by an OSU Police officer near the intersection of Woody Hayes Drive and Kenny Drive, on the west side of the Olentangy River.
According to the report filed by Ofc. Kyle Howe, Worthington was clocked traveling 41 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone. He was pulled over at 3:13 a.m.
According to OSU Police, Worthington had a blood-alcohol level of .095, which is just above Ohio’s limit of .08. Worthington was also under the legal drinking age of 21 (he will turn 21 on Aug. 10).
OSU coach Jim Tressel was unavailable for comment. It remains unclear what discipline Worthington might face through the football program, although this is believed to be his “first strike” under the athletic department’s substance abuse policy.
As a first-time offender, Worthington could be in line to enter substance abuse counseling and may not miss competition. However, it could be up to Tressel’s discretion if or how much Worthington could play during the season, which begins Aug. 30 against Youngstown State.
The 6-6, 276-pound Worthington started 12 of OSU’s 13 games a year ago at defensive tackle. He tallied 24 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, one sack and one interception. He is listed as a starter at DT as the Buckeyes are set to report for the start of preseason camp on Sunday.
Worthington, senior Nader Abdallah, junior Todd Denlinger and sophomore Dexter Larimore all split time at the two defensive tackle spots last season.