Ex-Vol David Oku arrested on domestic assault charge

David Oku

Photo by Knox County Sheriff's Office

David Oku

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

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Comments » 109

87UTVOL writes:

Another Kiffin "character". I'd say Oku and Dooley didn't see eye to eye on life or 'ball.

clvolfan writes:

I know what you are thinking.
What's he doing in Knoxville anyway????

MikeTheTiger writes:

VFL!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

The key word in this story is "Ex-Vol."

sgalloway writes:

So I guess the univeristy is at blame here, He is no longer there!!! Get a life! Go write about something else that is worth writing about.

bUTchVFL writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Doesn't that first sentence describe your boy Kiffin. Oh, that's right, he was a thug before he came to Knoxville.

iadvol writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mansonlamps writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

ChattaVol1 writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

About 4/3s of our current problems can be traced back to one person, Kiffin. A big part of S.C.'s also. Thanks to Lane both will "Struggle ON".

thevoice writes:

Maybe UT can take Kiffin to court for screwing up our program.

TommyJack writes:

Tempest in a Tea-pot. Move along, folks.

TheShag writes:

Does anyone know just how many Kiffin recruits are still with us? It seems like every day you hear about another one dropping out.

I'm not saying this with any malice, I just want to know how hard his failure to recruit quality men hit our program.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to MikeTheTiger:

VFL!

Now i can only assume you are Memphis Tiger Mike...there's only 47 different Tigers....working on that assumption....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAA!!!!!!! Hilariousness...absolute hilariousness.....kinda funny too....You are just wanting a win against the Vols right????...volleyball... badminton...football...basketball...ANYTHING...man, get- dis - monkey - off - my - back...funny stuff right here now...

Outdated writes:

Domestic Assualt..bond $1000..does not mean this young man is a thug..He probably should have left Knoxville sooner but definitely needs to go somewhere else and start over..
Maybe someone at UT needs to explain to these guys when they leave the athletic programs that they and the school would be better off if they immediately leave Knoxville ...How many of these incidents could have been avoided if this were the case

ugloc35#561911 writes:

So in other words his Ho Ho done called the PO PO in him....

Mansonlamps writes:

in response to TheShag:

Does anyone know just how many Kiffin recruits are still with us? It seems like every day you hear about another one dropping out.

I'm not saying this with any malice, I just want to know how hard his failure to recruit quality men hit our program.

Daniel Hood, Marlon Walls, Greg King, Janzen Jackson, Zach Rogers, JerQuari Schofield, Marsalis Teague, Naz Oliver, Toney Williams. Might be a couple more. The UT '08 class (Fulmers) turned out much worse for us.

TheShag writes:

Well, if you want something done it looks like you have to do it yourself. Out of 22 Kiffin commits we have eight players still listed on the depth charts and three starters. If Janzen comes back, its going to be nine players and four. I've listed them below.

eric gordon ****
Daniel Hood *** Starting
Greg King ***
Zach Rogers ***
J. Schofield *** Starting
Marsalic Teague **** Starting
Marlon Walls ****
Toney Williams ***

nwcs writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

His recruiting class was good. From the recruiters point of view. Which shows again that successful recruiting is about much more than stars.

TLepage writes:

in response to TheShag:

Does anyone know just how many Kiffin recruits are still with us? It seems like every day you hear about another one dropping out.

I'm not saying this with any malice, I just want to know how hard his failure to recruit quality men hit our program.

i think there are only 12 or 13 Kiffin recruits that are currently on the roster....

PHAT_VOL writes:

If you remember, Oku committed to Fulmer and when Fulmer was fired he decomitted. Kiffen stroked him and finnally landed him. My question is why is he still in Knoxville if he wanted to transfer? Anyone know?
GO VOLS !!!

skboy writes:

This is not about Kiffin, its about another black ex vol football player brought up on assault charges. Wonder if he had his hands around her neck ?

lomas98 writes:

People think without Kiffin, TN wouldn't have landed Oku. Wasn't Oku committed and then decommitted when Fulmer was canned? There was another RB committed and left for SC when Fulmer left and didn't give Kiffin a chance to recruit him. I think Kiffin had to re-recruit Oku and we all applauded him for his efforts when he signed along with Bryce. You never know what is going to happen with these kids from a senior in high school through 3 or 4 years of college. It is not a coaches or university's fault, it's their own.

Virgil_Tutwiler writes:

Allow me to be the Devil's advocate:

(1) I believe UT (as in Fulmer) was recruiting Oku before Kiffin was. Kiffin closed the deal.

(2) Innocent until proven guilty. Remember all the news stories in recent years that made everyone mad then had to be recanted because of "victim" inconsistencies. (Duke Lacrosse, Vonore Stutte/lesbian arson, Strauss-Kahn rape, etc)

Just because Tennessee signed the kid does not make them anymore culpable than the schools that tried to sign the same kid. I would be more concerned about potential diploma tarnish had Oku et al graduated then got arrested than if they got thrown off then arrested.

TLepage writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, the people out in LA are front-runners and only like winners.... The support will stop when you guys continue to lose like last year.... Even when USC wins, their attendance at home games is piss poor.... Men is SoCal don't care about football, they are more concerned with other things, like skinny jeans and frosted tips...

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

The key word in this story is "Ex-Vol."

Thank you for stressing that!!

Plus, as other posters have pointed out, he is another one of Kiffin's characters.

Volunatic writes:

This is clearly the fault of Phil Fulmer and Jimmy Cheek. And Jerry Green.

Hickmc writes:

in response to TheShag:

Well, if you want something done it looks like you have to do it yourself. Out of 22 Kiffin commits we have eight players still listed on the depth charts and three starters. If Janzen comes back, its going to be nine players and four. I've listed them below.

eric gordon ****
Daniel Hood *** Starting
Greg King ***
Zach Rogers ***
J. Schofield *** Starting
Marsalic Teague **** Starting
Marlon Walls ****
Toney Williams ***

Don't forget Ja'Wuan James and Zach Fulton.... May be more but those were off the top of my head... Go Vols!! 59 days and counting until Montana!!!!!!!!

utchuckster writes:

LaneKiffinFan you are joking right. Go to your own sites and see how many are bashing Kiffin. He is liked less there the here.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Hickmc:

Don't forget Ja'Wuan James and Zach Fulton.... May be more but those were off the top of my head... Go Vols!! 59 days and counting until Montana!!!!!!!!

You are correct about James and Fulton. Tyler Bray would be the biggest name and Corey Miller and several others were mid term enrollees as well. They were locked in at that point. The timing of Kiffin leaving was really bad but it actually could have been worse if it was a few days earlier. The mid term enrollees could have not shown up for class and been recruited.

hueypilot writes:

$1,000 bond? That means a c note to get him out. Couldn't have been much of an assault. but what is he doing in Knoxville.

Just so long as it's ex vols making the police blotter in the summer.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

how much press is vandy gettin these days? lol

tennrich1 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy fan??? OMG...man this is absolutely the funniest thing to me...CSS IS A VANDY FAN!!!!. kinda like in the Wizard of Oz when you find out who the wiz really is...just takes the fun right out of it....A Vandy fan???? OMG!!!!

TheShag writes:

in response to Hickmc:

Don't forget Ja'Wuan James and Zach Fulton.... May be more but those were off the top of my head... Go Vols!! 59 days and counting until Montana!!!!!!!!

Thanks, I was just looking at the 2009 recruiting class. There actually look to be quite a few guys who were recruited prior to Kiffin leaving who stuck around and are contributing. In my defense, I'm definitely new to this, I only started really caring about UT football about two years ago.

quickslant writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

don't you have a chicken to choke?
get out of here.

utvolfan writes:

in response to FormerMarine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was not comfortable with Kiffin from the very beginning and became less comfortable as time went by. I hoped I was wrong and still tried to support the program. As a child, I complained about a minister and was taught that you don't go to church to worship the minister. I have generalized that lesson to believe that for real fans of an athletic program, an appropriate focus is NOT worship of the coach. (I DO have a good feeling about Dooley having HIS focus on target, though.)

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

Man, this guy is tough. He can beat up on women, he should be so proud. Idiot.

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to MikeTheTiger:

VFL!

Moron for life.

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

in response to MikeTheTiger:

VFL!

Don't you have some trees to water?

A_Voice_ofReason writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yea, I've read your BS for a while now, and there is absolutely no doubt you are NOT a USC fan but just some dumb @ss trying to stir the pot. That's ok, because if folks are dumb enough to feed into it they deserve what they get.

That being said, I find it funny how you list so many players on UT's roster (or former players) that committed crimes. No one can deny the troubles and you are 100% correct in everything you've said about the players....

But lets not forget you have liars associated with your program too (Kiffin, Reggie Bush, OJ Mayo to name a few). Not to mention you (I say you because again I really don't think you are a USC fan) the most famous alum mr. oj simpson (he doesn't deserve to have his name capitalized by the way). mr. simpson brutally murdered 2 people (that we know of), evaded police and eventually ended up where he belonged for crimes he did get caught for.

Look, if you want to talk smack fine...but don't think you are guilt free from the stains that are on your program too...

When are you bowl eligible again?

BamaVol writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why don't you go back to the USC site and stay there.

madmax22 writes:

in response to TheShag:

Well, if you want something done it looks like you have to do it yourself. Out of 22 Kiffin commits we have eight players still listed on the depth charts and three starters. If Janzen comes back, its going to be nine players and four. I've listed them below.

eric gordon ****
Daniel Hood *** Starting
Greg King ***
Zach Rogers ***
J. Schofield *** Starting
Marsalic Teague **** Starting
Marlon Walls ****
Toney Williams ***

Marlon Walls and Toney Williams both committed while Fulmer was the head coach, so they actually aren't Kiffin recruits. The same with Daniel Hood. So that leaves only 5 remaining Kiffin players.

knoxguy26#585353 writes:

Funny thing here is everyone jumps on Kiffin but nobody will blame Bruce Pearl for anything. Pearl actually hurt the UT reputation and the basketball program more than Kiffin but everyone still loves Pearl.

TennVol01 writes:

in response to clvolfan:

I know what you are thinking.
What's he doing in Knoxville anyway????

He is in Knoxville attending UT per the article. I would think he would have been picked up by another school by now and be getting ready for summer workouts. Sounds like, if his girlfriend has any backbone, he will lose his living quarters. If she stays in an abusive relationship, I feel sorry for her. Any big muscular man who would push a woman to the ground has little respect for women and will repeat his actions.

vol_till_i_die writes:

in response to skboy:

This is not about Kiffin, its about another black ex vol football player brought up on assault charges. Wonder if he had his hands around her neck ?

The black part wasn't necessary at all.

UTKin1992 writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All charges against Strauss-Kahn are being dropped as it appears to have been a set-up. This info has been out for several days now. Before saving the world from racists by making sharp-tongued retaliatory comments, familiarize yourself with current events. Have a nice day.

JoeVols writes:

in response to LaneKiffinFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your sites are flooded with supporters, yet you are always here.. Makes sense..

Volunatic writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

All charges against Strauss-Kahn are being dropped as it appears to have been a set-up. This info has been out for several days now. Before saving the world from racists by making sharp-tongued retaliatory comments, familiarize yourself with current events. Have a nice day.

You clearly missed his point. In trying to argue with him, you were actually agreeing with him. He was saying that "charged with a crime" is not always the same thing as "guilty of a crime".

UTKin1992 writes:

in response to vol_till_i_die:

The black part wasn't necessary at all.

Of course it was unnecessary, and spiteful, but he has every right to state it. Your pious remark only makes you look like an politically correct tool.

UTKin1992 writes:

in response to Volunatic:

You clearly missed his point. In trying to argue with him, you were actually agreeing with him. He was saying that "charged with a crime" is not always the same thing as "guilty of a crime".

I think YOU missed MY point. Thanks for 'trying' to clarify...

SneakyPete writes:

in response to Mansonlamps:

Daniel Hood, Marlon Walls, Greg King, Janzen Jackson, Zach Rogers, JerQuari Schofield, Marsalis Teague, Naz Oliver, Toney Williams. Might be a couple more. The UT '08 class (Fulmers) turned out much worse for us.

Just for the record...Toney Williams grew up in Chattanooga and moved to Georgia as a teenager. He was recruited by Coach Fulmer and HONORED his committment when he was replaced. He's always wanted to play at Tennessee, so don't lump him into a certain category because he signed when someone other than Fulmer was in charge.

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