Starting to wonder if we can ever get out of the gutter in Knoxville. Years of nothing but horrible play on the field, bad recruiting, off the field issues. Then you have arguably a top 5 recruiting class on Wednesday, 4 days later nine players get in trouble.
Until early Sunday morning, the Butch Jones era at Tennessee had been a quiet one away from the field. Not a single Volunteer football player has been arrested since Jones took over in December of 2012. For a big-time SEC program, that’s an almost unheard of show of discipline.
But, oh, how that’s changed now.
Over the weekend, a grand total of nine Volunteer football players – plus former Vol Dontavis Sapp — were arrested or cited for alcohol-related issues following a large party. The full list:
* All-SEC linebacker AJ Johnson was popped for purchasing alcohol for underage people and resisting arrest
* Defensive lineman Danny O’Brien was arrested for providing a fake ID to police, underage drinking and resisting arrest
* Linebacker Curt Maggitt was cited for providing alcohol to minors
* Linebacker Jakob Johnson was cited for providing alcohol to minors
* Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin was cited for providing alcohol to minors
* Offensive lineman Dontavious Blair was cited for underage consumption
* Defensive lineman Malik Brown was cited for underage consumption
* Cornerback Justin Coleman was city for underage consumption
* And defensive end Dimarya Mixon was cited for underage consumption
The police report also claims that Johnson provided marijuana to numerous underage individuals including at least one minor.
All of this stemmed from a noise complaint about the party. Had the players simply turned down their music, and said, “yes, sir” and “no, sir” to the police it’s likely nine Vols wouldn’t be in the news today.
But here’s where things get interesting. Jones is the son for a former police chief. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll be too happy with his players talking back to or trying to wiggle themselves free of police officers (which are both referenced in the police report).
This is the first test of Jones’ discipline. Johnson led the Volunteers in tackles last year and Tennessee opens with a dangerous Utah State squad that will likely be in the top 25 come August. If Johnson — and the others — are suspended for even part of that first game, UT will face an uphill battle against a team fans will expect them to beat (regardless of their national ranking).