Tennessee linebacker Austin Johnson allegedly tried to engage in a fight and has been accused of hitting parked cars before his arrest early Sunday morning.
According to a police report obtained by the News Sentinel, the senior “shoved a white male and attempted to fight the male” in the back parking lot of Tin Roof at 1915 Cumberland Ave.
Johnson, 22, also matched the description of a “male who was hitting vehicles in the parking lot” and was identified as a “danger to himself and others” before being charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct by the Knoxville Police Department. According to the report, Johnson had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol and admitted to being drunk and also asked for a breath test.
Each charge carried a bond of $500, and Johnson was released Sunday afternoon and will face a court date on Aug. 4.
UT coach Derek Dooley has not publicly weighed in on the matter at this point. Dooley was in Bristol, Conn., on Monday for a series of interviews with ESPN, but he was not asked about Johnson and has not responded to requests for comment from the News Sentinel.
In a statement on Sunday, UT spokesman Jimmy Stanton confirmed the program was looking into the incident involving a player widely regarded as a leader by his teammates.
“We’re aware of an incident involving Austin,” Stanton said. “We’re in the process of investigating it for additional information.”
The senior is expected to be a critical contributor to UT’s largely inexperienced defense this fall, particularly given the lack of depth at linebacker.
Johnson spent spring practice working at multiple spots as part of the ongoing cross-training effort to make the Vols more versatile, but he was likely going to enter the season as the starter in the middle before Herman Lathers suffered a fractured ankle this summer. That loss forced Johnson back to a projected position on the outside as he tries to follow up on a junior campaign that included 44 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and 3.5 takedowns for a loss.
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.