Tennessee wide receiver Von Pearson is a suspect in an alleged rape investigation in Knoxville, the Knoxville Police Department said Friday afternoon. Pearson has not been charged with any crimes at this time, and the police are currently investigating the story.
According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, the incident in question was reported early Friday morning and police have interviewed the alleged victim and several potential witnesses. Police have already contacted the Sexual Assault Center as the investigation gets underway.
Pearson was Tennessee’s second-leading receiver last fall behind Pig Howard. Pearson recorded 393 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 11 games.
This is not the first time this spring a Tennessee player has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Earlier this month offensive lineman Coleman Thomas had a felony theft charge dismissed. Former defensive lineman Michael Sawyers was soon charged with the same offense. Sawyers was actually dismissed from the team in February by head coach Butch Jones for a violation of team rules.
Tennessee’s spring game is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Given this recent report, it may be safe to assume Pearson will not participate in it as the legal process plays out. At this time, Tennessee has not issued any statement on the situation or Pearson’s status with the program.
UPDATE (6:27 p.m.): Tennessee has suspended Pearson from all team activities.
Tennessee has a very bright future ahead of it heading into the offseason after wrapping up the year with an inspiring win over Iowa, but one wide receiver will be out of the mix when spring practices open up later this year. Drae Bowles, a redshirt sophomore has transferred out of the program after enrolling at UT-Chattanooga today. Stephen Higgins of the Times Free Press reported the news via Twitter.
Because he is moving to a school playing at the FCS level, Bowles will be eligible to play right away in 2015 for Chattanooga.
Tennessee looks to be pretty deep at wide receiver in 2015. All five leading receivers from 2014, including Pig Howard, Von Pearson and Marquez North are all slated to return to Knoxville in 2015, so playing time for Bowles may have been scarce at best. He appeared in two games this season but did not record any receiving stats. He also played on special teams for the Vols.
Jadeveon Clowney has certainly had an impact on the field in the first half against Tennessee, but the Vols hold the upper hand at halftime with a 17-7 lead on South Carolina.
It was a mess of a first quarter that saw Butch Jones settle in playing a game of field position and managing to guide the Vols to nothing more than a 3-0 lead while playing it safe. Clowney had a terrific start to the game, including one play where he nearly duplicated his trademark hit against Michigan in the bowl game last season, this time lining up Rajon Neal as his target. But the Vols offense has been taking a toll on the South Carolina defense it appears.
Tennessee’s defense has been playing very well so far. Connor Shaw has completed just four of 11 pass attempts, but one of those went 76 yards for a touchdown. The big question will be whether or not Tennessee can keep this going in the second half. A few weeks ago Tennessee was unable to hold off Georgia in an upset bid.
The first quarter was highlighted more for an ejection than any other particular play. South Carolina safety Kadetrix Marcus became the first of three players from the SEC to be ejected in the first half today across the conference. Marcus was ejected for his hit on Tennessee receiver Pig Howard and following the mandated video review the ejection was upheld. Marcus was filling in as a starter for Chaz Elder, so South Carolina’s secondary depth is a concern.