Jacques Smith pleads guilty, apologizes in courtroom

UT end Jacques Smith during drills on the first day of spring football practice Thursday, Mar. 18, 2010 at Haslam Field on campus.

Photo by Michael Patrick

UT end Jacques Smith during drills on the first day of spring football practice Thursday, Mar. 18, 2010 at Haslam Field on campus.

Outside of the Knox County general sessions courtrooms Wednesday, Tennessee defensive end Jacques Smith shook hands with a few Vols fans and was even told by one that he had NFL-caliber talent.

An hour earlier, on the inside, Smith was just another name on the docket, just another body scrunched onto a bench awaiting the consequences for the costly “mistake” the freshman said he made less than two weeks earlier.

Smith pleaded guilty on a simple assault charge, but will have the transgression dropped from his record in a year if he adheres to his judicial diversion, a “special kind of probation” afforded to first-time offenders.

Smith’s charges stemmed from an early-morning, Oct. 31 incident, just hours after the Vols fell at South Carolina, 38-24.

Upset that a female friend of his was dancing with another man, Smith, according to the arrest warrant issued by the Knoxville Police Department, punched Brandon Allen, 21, from behind and proceeded to kick and punch him as he lay on the ground at New Amsterdam, 1836 Cumberland Ave.

Smith must pay court costs and restitution charges for Allen’s injuries, which include a concussion and stitches to a finger on his left hand. Smith will also attend anger management classes and voluntarily submit to alcohol and drug assessments.

If Smith, one of UT’s most promising young players, complies with all of the above, and faces no new charges, the Class A misdemeanor will be dropped from his record.

“This all turns into great disposition for you if you do the stuff you promise,” Fourth Sessions Court Judge Chuck Cerny said to Smith.

After his plea, Smith turned toward Allen and his family, seated in the third row, and used the nearly full courtroom as his platform to apologize.

“I would like to say that I’m fully aware of the situation that happened. It was my mistake,” Smith said. “I know as an adult that’s not how you handle the situation. I hope that Mr. Allen and his family can understand that was a mistake.

“As an adult, it should have never have happened. I’m really sorry and I hope you can accept my apology.”

Allen and his parents then nodded in approval. Smith talked privately with Allen’s mother outside the courtroom and the two hugged before parting ways.

“That truly is Jacques Smith from his heart what he said in there,” said Smith’s attorney, T Scott Jones. “That’s nothing that an attorney has put him up to. That’s something that young man needs and wanted to do.”

Jones called the assault case an “anomaly” because of the cordial rapport between Smith and Allen. Typically, Jones said, the two parties would not be allowed near each other so soon after an incident.

“That speaks volumes about the man Mr. Smith is,” Jones said. “He understands that was not conforming with his normal character and wanted his victim to know it.”

Smith is due back in the same courtroom Feb. 22 to receive an update on the restitution charges.

Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/

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Comments » 40

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Gasp! Wonder how this will affect the possibility of a civil lawsuit, since the victim indicated that he had retained an attorney.

Dooley_Wears_Orange writes:

DON'T SEND HIM TO ANGER MANAGEMENT - We want him to arrive at the opposing team's quarterback "IN A BAD HUMOR."

Volchief writes:

I don't want to see it happen because we need all the bodies on the field we can get, but I don't see how Dooley would still refuse to sit him for a game now. The facts, not allegations, have been presented in court & he has been given a misdemeanor assault charge, that will be dropped on good behavior. I understand that Dooley feels it was a "kids being kids" scenario but the fact remains he beat some dude down in an angry fit. I would expect that, if Dooley wants to clean up the culture of the program, this definitely merits a one game suspension after the facts have been presented. I don't think it will happen because everybody has "moved on". Its in the past, but what happens next time a player is issued a warrant & arrested? Kids being kids? Call me all the names that you want. This is just as bad, if not worse, than a threatening text messege. Sorry, just my opinion. You're free to trash it if you feel so inclined. As I said before, I do not wish to see our team suffer because of his absence on the field, but sometimes sitting seeps into these "kids" head's a lot more than simply adhearing to a good conduct policy until the charge is dropped from his record

Dooley_Wears_Orange writes:

Do not sit Jac. Bar fight/football, hand-in-hand. Haven't you seen Necessary Roughness? Kid got whooped/feelings hurt, pressed charges. Was not there, but willing to bet the kid provoked the situation. You don't get punched for no reason at all.

LCMAN writes:

Smith manned up. He stood tall before the court and took his licks for getting in a fight. I hope this other guys mans up to and doesn't take this to civil court. Fights happen and usually nether party is innocent.

GeneralNeyland96redux writes:

I hate to see things like this happen, but Bravo to JS for standing up and handling this in an honorable fashion.

Orangeblood13 writes:

He owned up

Now move on

No need for rebuttal

Orangelife writes:

Glad to see JS took the diversion. He couldve faced up to a year in jail. I may be wrong but I don't think that kid can do anything more because of JS taking the diversion.

Now Smith can put this in the past and focus on football.

Go VOLS beat Black Bear!

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude... let it go. They settled it in court. It's over. Take those "calm" pills like the doctor said, and get some rest, Your keyboard (and the rest of us) need you to not destroy yourself over something the court system has already finished with. There is no appeal process here.

Let it go, dude.. Calm thoughts... there you go.. Easy now. Just rest your eyes. Everything's all right. We'll all hear for you. Now then.. feel better?

Nothing more to see here, folks..

Move along..

orangeman1 writes:

in response to LCMAN:

Smith manned up. He stood tall before the court and took his licks for getting in a fight. I hope this other guys mans up to and doesn't take this to civil court. Fights happen and usually nether party is innocent.

Actually the victim is innocent. No charges filed against him and a guilty plea from Smith.
And it didnt sound like much of a fight when you hit someone from behind knocking him to the ground and proceeding to kick him. How Dooley can let him play without a suspension is beyond me. And people said he was a strict disciplinarian. haha.
All the people saying fights happen all the time are just making excuses. They dont happen all the time. Smith even admitted he was wrong and thats not the way and adult acts. Why cant UT fans admit the same instead of trivializing it. The victim could've gotten seriously injured and Smith should be held liable for any medical bills associated with the injuries. Come on Dooley, you have a guilty plea now so show us what strict discipline is!!

Volchief writes:

in response to LCMAN:

Smith manned up. He stood tall before the court and took his licks for getting in a fight. I hope this other guys mans up to and doesn't take this to civil court. Fights happen and usually nether party is innocent.

I understand that, and you are correct about him taking responsibility for his actions. As I said, I don't see him sitting at all; however, the situation sets a difficult precedent. Some things are ok and some aren't. Some things are borderline. One man bar fight ok. Six man bar fight not ok. We'll see as time goes on what situations ride the fence. In any case, I feel that Smith acted responsibly after the fact, which is the only reason! he won't sit. Dooley handled it well in retrospect. However, there will be people out there that don't feel his assessment of the situation was necessarily adhering to his cleaning up the culture of the program

TommyJack writes:

in response to Volchief:

I understand that, and you are correct about him taking responsibility for his actions. As I said, I don't see him sitting at all; however, the situation sets a difficult precedent. Some things are ok and some aren't. Some things are borderline. One man bar fight ok. Six man bar fight not ok. We'll see as time goes on what situations ride the fence. In any case, I feel that Smith acted responsibly after the fact, which is the only reason! he won't sit. Dooley handled it well in retrospect. However, there will be people out there that don't feel his assessment of the situation was necessarily adhering to his cleaning up the culture of the program

Yeah and some wouldn't be happy unless the kid got life, the needle, the chair, bread & water, etc. Let it go.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah and some wouldn't be happy unless the kid got life, the needle, the chair, bread & water, etc. Let it go.

Maybe you should re read my post. I think I said a suspension, but go on and exaggerate things if you want to. A Strict disciplinarian Dooley is not. I guess he thinks running steps and still starting will deter other players from getting in the same mess JS did, but I dont see it that way.

Volchief writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah and some wouldn't be happy unless the kid got life, the needle, the chair, bread & water, etc. Let it go.

I wouldn't quite call sitting a game similar to the death penalty, but if that's the simplistic, & completely ignorant, approach that some would want to take so be it. Sorry, I'll let it go. I'll tell ya who won't let it go though... Smith's parents, therapist, coach & all others involved in his life. Cuz next time it happens he goes to jail. No simple suspension needed then. Sorry again. I'll let it go. We can agree on one thing though. Let's beat up on Ole Missoli!
Go Vols

TommyJack writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Maybe you should re read my post. I think I said a suspension, but go on and exaggerate things if you want to. A Strict disciplinarian Dooley is not. I guess he thinks running steps and still starting will deter other players from getting in the same mess JS did, but I dont see it that way.

A tad sensitive there, Orange? My post wasn't even directed at you. Sheesh

orangeman1 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

A tad sensitive there, Orange? My post wasn't even directed at you. Sheesh

My bad, I was assuming you were talking about anyone that believed Dooley isnt disciplining Smith enough.

SEC1 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

A tad sensitive there, Orange? My post wasn't even directed at you. Sheesh

Can't spell thug without the U&T ... Now only if the vols can take that aggression out against sec foes instead of stopping or hitting undersized men at bar fights!!

NeylandWest writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You assume that stomping someone's head is attempted murder? Really?

Wow.

LCMAN writes:

in response to orangeman1:

Actually the victim is innocent. No charges filed against him and a guilty plea from Smith.
And it didnt sound like much of a fight when you hit someone from behind knocking him to the ground and proceeding to kick him. How Dooley can let him play without a suspension is beyond me. And people said he was a strict disciplinarian. haha.
All the people saying fights happen all the time are just making excuses. They dont happen all the time. Smith even admitted he was wrong and thats not the way and adult acts. Why cant UT fans admit the same instead of trivializing it. The victim could've gotten seriously injured and Smith should be held liable for any medical bills associated with the injuries. Come on Dooley, you have a guilty plea now so show us what strict discipline is!!

Yes, he his innocent of doing anything illegal in the eyes of the law. I don't beleive this other guy is made of roses ether. He most likely did something to instigate Smith hitting him. Smith manned up that he was wrong. The story says he has to pay for medical cost, which I agree with. In a stand up world this should be over between Smith and the other guy. If there is a civil suit after this, in my opinion, it's just a money grab. As far as how Dooley should punish him. That's a hard thing to weigh. Smith did the wrong thing, in the moment, but looks to be handling it right after the fact. I don't think whatever the punishment would be should be as harsh because of how well he handled it after the fact.

allvols4life writes:

in response to SEC1:

Can't spell thug without the U&T ... Now only if the vols can take that aggression out against sec foes instead of stopping or hitting undersized men at bar fights!!

How conveniently you forget the 30+ arrests while Coach Urbie has been in Gainsville. Not saying that punching a guy from behind is right, but as Jesus said, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone". In other words, a Gator has no business saying anything about thuggish behavior.

UTbassdrummer writes:

in response to Dooley_Wears_Orange:

DON'T SEND HIM TO ANGER MANAGEMENT - We want him to arrive at the opposing team's quarterback "IN A BAD HUMOR."

You beat me too it. LOL.

LCMAN writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's not attempted murder, but it not simple assault ether. I think that would fall under aggravated assault. I'm guess your point is, you don't think the police beleived this kids story on what happened, sence the charges don't match the story given.

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to Dooley_Wears_Orange:

Do not sit Jac. Bar fight/football, hand-in-hand. Haven't you seen Necessary Roughness? Kid got whooped/feelings hurt, pressed charges. Was not there, but willing to bet the kid provoked the situation. You don't get punched for no reason at all.

Not true. Big guys (sometimes football players, etc.) have been known to bully smaller guys just because they can. I don't have any idea what happened here, but I do believe in redemption.

orangeman1 writes:

So did the report say Smith stomped the guys head or just stomped him after he hit the ground?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

DeAnthony Arnett to announce his school of choice tonight at 7:00pm. Sorry I'm off topic, but I didn't see a thread for it. When a LEGIT 4* playmaker WR, #2 player out of Michigan might choose us I think its pretty damn important. UT, MSU, and USC are his top 3. The experts have thought UT for a while, I've thought MSU. Once they finally convinced me it would be UT, USC becomes a SERIOUS player, might even get him. I'm still gonna go ahead and predict we shock folks and pull him outta Michigan. Cross your fingers folks.

As for KNS, I never thought I would miss Hooker but I do. Atleast he ATTEMPTED to keep up with recruiting. Unbelievable. We have a LEGIT blue-chip prospect that might choose the Vols and KNS won't report it. KNS, I'll come by and get my check tomorrow ok? Thanks!!!!!!!

Volumnus writes:

Thank the lord that he only hit and kicked another human being and did not miss a car payment.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

DeAnthony Arnett to announce his school of choice tonight at 7:00pm. Sorry I'm off topic, but I didn't see a thread for it. When a LEGIT 4* playmaker WR, #2 player out of Michigan might choose us I think its pretty damn important. UT, MSU, and USC are his top 3. The experts have thought UT for a while, I've thought MSU. Once they finally convinced me it would be UT, USC becomes a SERIOUS player, might even get him. I'm still gonna go ahead and predict we shock folks and pull him outta Michigan. Cross your fingers folks.

As for KNS, I never thought I would miss Hooker but I do. Atleast he ATTEMPTED to keep up with recruiting. Unbelievable. We have a LEGIT blue-chip prospect that might choose the Vols and KNS won't report it. KNS, I'll come by and get my check tomorrow ok? Thanks!!!!!!!

As always, RJ, I appreciate your recruiting info..I had read on Twitter that this WR was going to announce his college of choice tonight..I'm surprised there isn't an article about it.

Is any other players announcing any time soon that we should know about???

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good ole' RR. Man I miss RR, KNS banned him but continues to turn a blind eye to the pathetic chumps like zzzzz#7, DC, volnothamilton, etc. Just saying.....

TKO writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah and some wouldn't be happy unless the kid got life, the needle, the chair, bread & water, etc. Let it go.

I believe the "bread and water" went too far.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Good ole' RR. Man I miss RR, KNS banned him but continues to turn a blind eye to the pathetic chumps like zzzzz#7, DC, volnothamilton, etc. Just saying.....

Haven't seen "DC" on here in a while unless he has changed his screenname, which is a distinct possiblity.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

As always, RJ, I appreciate your recruiting info..I had read on Twitter that this WR was going to announce his college of choice tonight..I'm surprised there isn't an article about it.

Is any other players announcing any time soon that we should know about???

No sweat. If Arnett chooses USC I will vomit! If he decides to shock the world (which I don't think he will), he will choose Boise St. But its down to UT, MSU, and USuC.

The next announcement should be Maurice Couch, IMO. He will visit the Ole Miss game and had previously said he would announce Dec. 1st. But he has since said he knows where he will go. I think it will be UT. SC is gonna end on a negative note, we will win out. He will be a Vol IMO. The thing to watch around this time isn't just commits, but kids decommitting. Not a knock on Dooley and crew, EVERYONE goes through it. Also will be interesting to see if Auburn has any de-commits.

On the other hand, Justin Coleman has been bumped up to a 4* recruit.

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

DeAnthony Arnett to announce his school of choice tonight at 7:00pm. Sorry I'm off topic, but I didn't see a thread for it. When a LEGIT 4* playmaker WR, #2 player out of Michigan might choose us I think its pretty damn important. UT, MSU, and USC are his top 3. The experts have thought UT for a while, I've thought MSU. Once they finally convinced me it would be UT, USC becomes a SERIOUS player, might even get him. I'm still gonna go ahead and predict we shock folks and pull him outta Michigan. Cross your fingers folks.

As for KNS, I never thought I would miss Hooker but I do. Atleast he ATTEMPTED to keep up with recruiting. Unbelievable. We have a LEGIT blue-chip prospect that might choose the Vols and KNS won't report it. KNS, I'll come by and get my check tomorrow ok? Thanks!!!!!!!

The way these things work, whatever he announces is just his first of at least two verbal committments before he signs with a school he had not previously commited to. Having said that, if he is good, I hope we get him.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'tavius Mathers is a FREAKING BEAST! He holds a Vandy offer. UT needs to offer before his recruitment blows up. Many of these kids are loyal to those who offer first. When an in state school doesn't offer before their competitors it creates resentment, makes the kid think they were overlooked bY their home school. As a JR he has 2,200+yds against 6A Middle Tennessee talent, which from head to toe is EASILY the best comp in the state. Atleast this year it is. UT better offer this kid.

wtnvolfan writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

No sweat. If Arnett chooses USC I will vomit! If he decides to shock the world (which I don't think he will), he will choose Boise St. But its down to UT, MSU, and USuC.

The next announcement should be Maurice Couch, IMO. He will visit the Ole Miss game and had previously said he would announce Dec. 1st. But he has since said he knows where he will go. I think it will be UT. SC is gonna end on a negative note, we will win out. He will be a Vol IMO. The thing to watch around this time isn't just commits, but kids decommitting. Not a knock on Dooley and crew, EVERYONE goes through it. Also will be interesting to see if Auburn has any de-commits.

On the other hand, Justin Coleman has been bumped up to a 4* recruit.

Arnett chose VOLS!!!

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to steviejanowski:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I see your point, but.. it's over.

If he gets in trouble before his probation is over, OK.. we can re-analyze it. It does seem that most people don't want to move on,

The court obviously took everything into consideration, and made its decision.

Pointing out things, isn't going to change anything.

Just sayin'

Colliervol writes:

in response to SEC1:

Can't spell thug without the U&T ... Now only if the vols can take that aggression out against sec foes instead of stopping or hitting undersized men at bar fights!!

Gosh, I've never heard that one before. I'll bet it took that 6th grade edjekation about a week to come up with that gem.

Colliervol writes:

in response to Dead_Head_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Chris Rainey: Playa of the Week.

vol_till_i_die writes:

That just shows the kind of person he is, standing up and taking apologizing instead of running from it.

vol_till_i_die writes:

in response to Caneoverhere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A jerk with no life by any other name is still a.......

How about examining your own life before you judge someone elses? He is 18 years old, and everyone makes mistakes.

tedstryker1980 writes:

Dooley is an embarrassment. He will do anything to get at least one SEC win this season. Not even a one game suspension for kicking someone as they lay prone on the ground? We are lucky no one got seriously injured or killed. Shame on all of you who are defending this abysmal behavior...

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