published Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Tennessee tight end Cameron Clear in custody on charge of theft

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee tight end Cameron Clear was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with theft.

The sophomore from Memphis is charged with theft of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to the Knox County Jail arrest log. The 19-year-old was released from the Knox County Detention Facility late Tuesday night on $2,500 bond, and he has been assigned a June 1 court date.

Theft of more than $500 is classified as a felony in Tennessee.

"We are aware of the incident and are in the process of gathering all the facts," Jimmy Stanton, UT's associate athletic director for communications, told the Times Free Press.

Volunteers coach Derek Dooley was in Atlanta on Tuesday night with the Big Orange Caravan, which concludes tonight at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Reports swirled earlier this month that the Knoxville Police Department was investigating a string of thefts at Gibbs Hall, the dormitory that houses a number of UT athletes, but it's unclear if Clear's arrest is related.

Dooley declined to comment when asked about it on May 7.

"I'll classify it as message-board journalism, like a lot things that come through," the coach said then. "I don't really talk about all that."

The Vols had gone nearly 10 months without an arrest. Linebacker Austin Johnson was jailed late last July on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Brent Brewer was taken into custody last February and charged with misdemeanor domestic assault, and the safety was suspended for five weeks of the offseason program.

Though he caught just one pass as a freshman, Clear played in every game last season and finished the year as the Vols' second tight end behind Mychal Rivera. The 6-foot-6, 283-pounder continued that trajectory this spring. UT left spring practice feeling good about its diverse group of tight ends.

"Cameron, he's a really talented football player," Dooley said after the Vols' fourth practice of spring in March. "He's got a rare combination of size and athleticism at that position. There's not many guys who are as big as him who can move and are as athletic as him. He's got a great attitude, he's learning and I think he's going to be a really good football player.

"I think he's everything we thought he would be. Like I said, rare combination of size, speed, athleticism for that position. He's incredibly intelligent, excellent makeup, good character, and it's just a matter of him and experience."

Clear was a four-star prospect and the second-rated player in-state according to Rivals.com coming out of Memphis Central High School in 2011. He also played basketball at Central with Jarnell Stokes, who's now a star forward on UT's basketball team. While most schools saw him as an offensive lineman, the Vols gave Clear a shot at tight end.

Rivera, a senior, caught 29 passes for 344 yards in 2011 and hauled in a 1-yard touchdown in UT's spring game. Sophomore Brendan Downs capped a solid spring with a four-catch, 51-yard performance. Justin Meredith enrolled at UT in January, but the freshman hardly participated in spring practice due to a lingering hamstring injury.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.

about Patrick Brown...

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 ...

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