Tennessee freshman defensive end Jacques Smith turned himself into the Knoxville Police Department Sunday afternoon after an arrest warrant was issued, stemming from an incident on the Strip early Sunday morning.
“Based on what we've heard from both the police and Jacques, there was an altercation between Jacques and another student, regarding a girl,” UT athletics spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Sunday night. “Once the altercation started, members of our team who were present stepped in and diffused the situation. All parties then walked out on their own accord and without major injuries. There were no further incidents. Several hours later, the other student and his mother decided to press charges.”
Smith was charged with simple assault after he was involved in a confrontation over a woman and was released after posing a $2,000 bond Sunday night.
“What’s been out is out, and it was an unfortunate incident,” UT coach Derek Dooley said at his Monday press conference. “It was an isolated incident. It was an incident where Jacques got a little emotional over a girl and our players did the right thing to defuse the situation. It’s not any more complex than that. Its been happening since Adam and Eve, I guess.”
KPD officers first became aware of the incident when they were called to UT Medical Center, where 21-year-old Allen Lewis was being treated for a concussion and was receiving stitches on his hand.
Lewis alleges that he was dancing with a girl when he was punched in the back of his head. After falling to the ground, Lewis said Smith started punching and kicking him.
“That happened this weekend, and we just got together this morning, and there’s a lot of rumors and stuff,” defensive lineman Malik Jackson said Monday. “Jacques got in front of us this morning in the (defensive) line room and apologized, told us what happened. As far as the team goes, there’s not too much discussion about it.”
While the incident is behind the team and Dooley said Smith's punishment would handled “internally,” the first-year coach said his players must make better choices off the field, especially early in the morning.
“Do I have concerns about it?” Dooley said after being question about his players being out at 2 a.m. “Of course I would if it was my child. Jacques is like my child, but we don’t have a curfew.
“We ask them to use good judgment and he didn’t use judgment.”
Smith is a back-up defensive end for the Vols this season. He was an early enrollee from Ooltewah High School in Ooltewah, coming to school in January and participating in spring practice.
He has played in eight games this year and has totalled 18 tackles.
Smith was at the Vols’ practice Monday and was seen with freshman defensive end Corey Miller working with defensive line coach Chuck Smith after practice.