KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive tackle Danny O'Brien, along with Dontavis Sapp, a former Volunteers linebacker, were arrested early Sunday morning following an incident at an off-campus apartment complex.
Johnson, a rising senior and All-SEC performer in 2013, and Sapp were charged with resisting arrest and alcoholic beverage purchase violations, while O'Brien was charged with criminal impersonation with a false identification, resisting arrest and underage consumption of alcohol, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office.
According to records obtained Sunday afternoon by the Times Free Press, KSCO officers responded to a report of a loud party at Quarry Trail Apartments, which are located just south of Tennessee's campus shortly after midnight. Upon arriving at a the "very large party consisting of approximately 80-90 people," officers spoke with Sapp, who told them he'd quiet the party.
As the officers were leaving, the report said, the music was turned back up, and the party was again warned of the consequences of failing to obey requests before responding to notifications of a fight.
O'Brien, a rising redshirt sophomore from Michigan who doesn't turn 21 until October, presented a fake driver's license from Alabama. The report said O'Brien "had a very strong odor of alcohol on his breath" and "became combative" when one officer attempted to arrest him. O'Brien was eventually taken into custody following a "brief struggle."
These are the first public arrests for Tennessee's program since Butch Jones took over as coach following the 2012 season.
Jones did not immediately return phone calls from the Times Free Press.
"We are aware of the situation and are still in the preliminary stages of gathering all facts and information," Jones said in a statement released by Tennessee. "We have very high standards and expectations within our football program at the University of Tennessee, and appropriate action will be taken."
Johnson elected to return for his senior season instead of jumping early into the NFL draft. He became the first Tennessee player since Earnest Fields in 1990 and 1991 to register consecutive 100-tackle seasons. He led the SEC in tackles as a sophomore in 2012.
O'Brien was in the rotation at defensive tackle this past season following a redshirt year. The 6-foot-2, 287-pounder was one of Tennessee's most experienced returning players at a thin position. He is a former four-star prospect out of Michigan.
Sapp finished his career this past season, when he recorded 66 tackles, eight stops for loss and recovered three fumbles. The Valdosta, Ga., native played primarily special teams and held a reserve linebacker role during his first three years at Tennessee. He started all 12 games in 2013, though.
More details as they develop online and in Monday's Times Free Press.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...