As previously reported, Florida State offensive lineman Ira Denson was not seen working out with the team during an offseason workout open to the media on Thursday. Head coach Jimbo Fisher told The Orlando Sentinel “We’re going to evaluate how he does,” and suggested they wanted him to focus on his academics while he works his way back from an injury riddled 2013 season. Perhaps there was more to the story.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Friday Denson allegedly used a debit card belonging to Florida State running back Mario Pender on December 20. Two days later the two were tied to an incident involving a shooting. According to the report, citing the police report from December 22, Pender took a pair of Denson’s sneakers as collateral until he could get his money back from Denson. Denson agreed to meet Pender somewhere to exchange money and the shoes. Denson was accompanied by Tarron Addison, who is now in a county jail facing an attempted murder charge. As reported, Pender sent his half-brother outside an apartment to return the shoes. Once the shoes were placed in the trunk of the car Denson was sitting in, the car started to drive away and Pender claims Addison pointed a gun out from the driver’s side window and fired a few times in the direction of Pender and his half-brother, who had been shot through the left ear.
Needless to say, this is not a good situation.
Some other questions may soon be worth exploring here as well. Both Denson and Pender remain on the Florida State roster (neither traveled with the team for the BCS Championship Game). Did Fisher know about this incident in question? If so, did he address Denson’s absence properly on Thursday? Denson has not been charged with any crime, so his status on the team would not fall under any questioning as far as that is concerned. Denson has denied to police using Pender’s debit card. If there is a rift between teammates that has allegedly involved bullets flying, has peace been made?
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.