Former Tennessee running back David Oku, who left the team shortly after the 2010 season, was arrested Monday in Knoxville on domestic assault charges.
Bond was set at $1,000 and Oku spent 12 hours in jail before he was released early this morning, according to the Knox County Sheriff's 24-hour arrest list.
Police were called to a home on Walnut Ridge Lane at 5:03 p.m. Monday in response to a call from Elizabeth Barnes, with whom Oku has lived since June 1. Barnes said she and Oku were arguing about an electric bill that Oku refused to pay.
Oku first threatened to beat Barnes up, then put his hand on the side of her face and "pushed her back." Oku then grabbed Barnes by the arms and pushed her to the ground.
In a phone interview with the Knoxville Police Department, Oku admitted to pushing Barnes to the ground.
Domestic assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Tennessee. It is punishable up to 11 months and 29 days in jail or a fine of $2,500.
Oku, who was ranked the No. 1 all-purpose back by Rivals.com out of Midwest City, Okla., was considered a late steal for Lane Kiffin’s first and only signing class in 2009, as Oku announced his decision more than one month after National Signing Day. Teamed with Bryce Brown, who was then considered one of the top overall prospects in 2009, Oku helped give UT one of the most hyped freshman backfields in the country.
Both players are now no longer with the team.
Bogged down on the depth chart behind Brown and Montario Hardesty, Oku, who also saw action on kick returns, carried the ball just 23 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns during his freshman season. It didn’t get much better as a sophomore, as Oku amassed 174 yards on 42 carries while losing hold of his backup role to freshman Rajion Neal throughout spurts of the season.
He announced his plans to transfer away from UT just two weeks after the season. Oku is still listed as an active student in UT's student directory.
More new later online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble