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Three U. of Tenn. football players arrested at party

From left to right: University of Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson (22), nose tackle Danny O'Brien (20), and former linebacker Dontavis Sapp (22), were all arrested on alcohol and resisting arrest charges Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 CBS affiliate WVLT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A loud party led to the arrests of two current University of Tennessee football players and one former player, reports CBS affiliate WVLT. Seven other players received citations in connection with the party.

A police report filed by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office states that linebacker A.J. Johnson and former linebacker Dontavis Sapp, both 22, were arrested on charges of purchasing alcohol for a person underage and resisting arrest. Nose tackle Danny O'Brien, 20, was charged with criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and underage consumption of alcohol.

Linebackers Curt Maggitt, Jakob Johnson and Jalen Reeves-Maybin were cited for providing alcohol to underage people. Offensive lineman Dontavius Blair, defensive lineman Malik Brown, cornerback Justin Coleman and defensive end Dimarya Mixon were cited for underage consumption.

Officers say they received a call about a loud party and responded at about 12:02 a.m. Sunday. According to deputies, Johnson and Sapp hosted the party, which was located at the Quarry Trail apartment complex near the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

One neighbor said she wasn’t surprised someone called the cops. “I was in my room watching Netflix and it was so loud it felt like the walls were moving,” she said. “They have had parties before, but not that bad.”

When police arrived, Sapp told them that he'd quiet the party down, but officers said someone turned the music up as they were leaving. Officers also said they later heard about a fight in the area.

The report by Officer John Sharp stated that Sapp tried to pull away as they attempted to secure him. Sharp said Johnson also grabbed him by the shoulder in an attempt to keep Sapp from being detained. Sharp said he pulled Johnson to the ground as Officer Keith McFarland took control of Sapp, but Johnson "continued to resist arrest by pulling away and rolling around."

The report also states Sapp and Johnson provided alcohol and marijuana to numerous underage individuals, including at least one minor. Officers said they observed marijuana residue in a pipe, but "the pipe was destroyed by the residents of the apartment as the ownership of the apparent drug paraphernalia could not be determined."

Officers say O'Brien provided identification indicating he was over the age of 21, but further investigation showed he was actually 20. The report said O'Brien "had a very strong odor of alcohol on his breath and became combative" as officers took him into custody.

Sapp, Johnson and O'Brien have all been released.

"We are aware of the situation and are still in the preliminary stages of gathering all facts and information," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said in a statement released by the university Sunday. "We have very high standards and expectations within our football program at the University of Tennessee, and appropriate action will be taken."

Jones told Knoxville radio station WNML on Monday that he's "obviously very embarrassed about it and I know our players are as well. It's not who we are. It's not what we stand for."

Johnson made a team-high 106 tackles last fall in his third season as a starter. He had 138 tackles in 2012 and ranked fourth among all Football Bowl Subdivision players with 11.5 tackles per game. Johnson announced last month he would return for his senior season rather than entering the NFL draft.

O'Brien made 12 tackles and played in all 12 games in a reserve role as a redshirt freshman last season. Sapp closed his career last fall by starting 12 games and making 66 tackles.

  • Crimesider Staff

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