Monday, Tennessee confirmed that two players, linebacker A.J. Johnson (pictured) and defensive back Michael Williams, have been indefinitely suspended from all team-related activities for violating unspecified team rules, although multiple media outlets reported that the suspensions were connecting to an investigation into alleged sexual assaults.
Tuesday afternoon, the Knoxville Police Department issued a two-page report that shed additional light on the situation.
According to the report, a 19-year-old UT student claimed that Johnson and Williams raped her early Sunday morning at a Knoxville apartment complex. The unnamed woman claimed that the assault lasted 45 minutes.
Another 19-year-old woman claimed she was sexually assaulted at the same location by Williams.
The first woman was treated at the UT Medical Center. Contrary to initial reports, the second alleged woman declined treatment and headed back to her home in Florida. She has thus far declined to pursue charges despite her initial claims of being sexually assaulted.
Detectives have yet to interview either Johnson or Williams, although that’s expected to change in the near future. No charges have been filed as the allegations remain under investigation.
Once the investigation is completed — there’s no timeline for completion — the case will be turned over to the Knox County prosecutors, who will determine if charges are warranted. Both players are expected to remain suspended until the situation is resolved.
Johnson, who has started 44 games for the Vols the past three-plus seasons, is currently UT’s leading tackler after leading the team in that category the past two seasons. Williams has started five of the 10 games in which he’s played this season.
Just a couple of days after officially taking over at Florida State, Mike Norvell has suffered his first personnel loss.
First reported by SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic and subsequently confirmed by 247Sports.com and others, Tre'Shaun Harrison has taken the first step in leaving the Seminoles by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. As one Alabama player did this week, Harrison could always opt to pull his name from the portal and remain at FSU.
Moving into the portal also gives other schools the opportunity to contact the wide receiver without receiving permission from FSU.
A four-star member of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington.
Harrison is currently third on the Seminoles with 289 yards on 27 receptions. As a true freshman last season, he caught 10 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, the first of his three scores with the ‘Noles.
There’s good news and bad news on the early-entry front for Mississippi State.
The bad? As expected, Kylin Hill announced via Twitter Thursday that, “after much prayer and discussion with my family… I will be forgoing my final season of eligibility and entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft.”
The good? Hill confirmed that he will be playing in the Music City Bowl matchup versus Louisville Dec. 30.
Hill led the Bulldogs and the SEC this past season with 1,347 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns on 235 carries. He added 17 catches for 174 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.
For his career, Hill totaled 2,474 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, and another 473 and five through the air.
Come Saturday evening, when the results coming out of New York City are made official, I suspect this won’t be the first time we string the words “Joe Burrow” and “wins in a landslide” in the same sentence.
The Associated Press Thursday announced its College Football Player of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, Burrow claimed yet another piece of postseason hardware. There were 53 media members who voted for the AP award; 50 of them cast first-place votes for Burrow, helping give the LSU quarterback a total of 156 points.
The senior, who is now viewed by some as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, currently leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 48 and completion percentage at 77.9 percent; right now, the completion percentage would be an FBS record, surpassing the 76.7 percent put up by Texas’ Colt McCoy in 2008. The Ohio State transfer is also second in the nation in passing yards (4,715) and passing efficiency (201.5).
Speaking of Ohio State, a pair of Buckeyes, defensive end Chase Young and quarterback Justin Fields, finished well behind Burrow in the voting. Young, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes, totaled 29 points while Fields totaled 43. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was fourth in the voting.
All four of those players mentioned, incidentally, were named as Heisman Trophy finalists earlier this week.
After a season away, Lavonte Valentine is back at the FBS level.
By way of his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Valentine announced that he has decided to transfer to South Florida and continue his collegiate playing career with the Bulls. As Valentine, whose transfer from South Carolina was confirmed in August of this year, comes to USF from the NAIA level, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.
The move comes a couple of days after Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott was named as the football program’s next head coach.
Coming out of high school in Melbourne, Fla., Valentine was a three-star member of South Carolina’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 all-purpose running back in the country. In part because of a torn ACL suffered his senior season of high school that caused him to miss spring practice and fall behind on the depth chart, Valentine took a redshirt for his true freshman season.
Valentine did, though, run track for USC this past spring, and he told The State that he will run track and play football at USF.