KNOXVILLE -- Austin Johnson tried to start a fight and fit the description of a suspect who was hitting parked vehicles in the parking lot behind a Knoxville bar when he was arrested early Sunday morning.
The University of Tennessee senior linebacker, who was taken into custody at 3:06 a.m. Sunday on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct, shoved a white male and attempted to fight him, according to the Knoxville Police Department report the Times Free Press obtained Monday.
The 22-year-old Johnson had "red blood-shot eyes, slurred speech and a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath," the report said.
Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 240-pounder who was listed in UT's media guide as the Volunteers' starter at weakside linebacker, also might have been hitting cars parked in a lot behind Tin Roof, a popular bar on Knoxville's Cumberland Avenue strip.
One of just a dozen seniors on the Vols' roster, Johnson made 44 tackles as a reserve middle linebacker last season after two seasons as a fullback. In addition to earning All-Southeastern Conference academic honors in each of his three seasons, Johnson is considered a leader by his teammates.
"We're aware of an incident with Austin, and we are investigating it," UT associate athletic director for communications Jimmy Stanton said Sunday.
The graduations of Nick Reveiz and LaMarcus Thompson and the fractured ankle that could sideline Herman Lathers into September have the Vols searching for new starters at all three linebacker spots, and Johnson is UT's most experienced player at the position.
Johnson's court date is set for Aug. 4, three days after the Vols report for preseason camp. UT coach Derek Dooley has yet to determine Johnson's punishment.
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrownTFP.
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 ...