Tennessee defensive tackle Alexis Johnson suspended after arrest

Butch Jones gestures that he wants to speak with the referee. The Vanderbilt Commodores visited the Tennessee Volunteers in SEC football action November 28, 2015.

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KNOXVILLE - Tennessee defensive tackle Alexis Johnson is suspended from all football activities following his arrest Wednesday night on charges of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

The junior college transfer, who enrolled and joined the Volunteers last month, was under a 12-hour hold at the Knox County Detention Center before he was released from custody, and he is scheduled to be arraigned in Knox County General Sessions Court on March 1.

Tennessee spokesman Ryan Robinson released the following statement to the Times Free Press via text message on Wednesday night: "We are aware of the report concerning Alexis Johnson. He has been suspended from all football activities. We will have no further comment at this time."

According to an arrest warrant, Johnson was taken into custody at 8:43 p.m. Wednesday. The warrant also said a woman told police she was "play fighting" with Johnson in the living room and bedroom of his apartment at Volunteer Hall on campus early Sunday morning when the interaction escalated and Johnson placed his hand around her throat "two to three times."

The warrant states Johnson repeatedly choked her to the point she could not fight back and felt she was going to pass out, and a witness told police that Johnson "appeared to be really punching her" and that the woman's lip was "busted."

After the woman slapped him away, Johnson "attempted to repetitively touch and kiss her" as she "repeatedly stated that she did not want to have sex with him," according to the warrant.

As the woman, who previously dated Johnson, tried to leave the bedroom, Johnson blocked the door and said, "You think I won't (expletive) you up?" according to the warrant.

Gregory Isaacs, Johnson's attorney, released a statement to the Times Free Press on Thursday afternoon.

"Alexis Johnson has cooperated with every aspect of the investigation," Isaacs said. "Alexis adamantly denies the allegation and intends to enter a plea of not guilty. Our firm is conducting an independent and more expansive investigation regarding these unfortunate allegations. Alexis looks forward to having this matter resolved as expeditiously as possible."

The one-page UT Police Department incident report obtained Thursday morning doesn't list any names, but the reporting officer listed sexual battery, false imprisonment and aggravated domestic assault as the crimes and noted that alcohol was involved.

The incident was reported Sunday night and the report approved by police Monday.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Johnson played the past two seasons at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, and the Georgia native was rated as one of the top junior college prospects in the nation when he signed with the Vols in December.

He is the only defensive tackle addition in Tennessee's 2016 class.

His arrest continues a tumultuous stretch of negative headlines for Tennessee, coming on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the university for its handling of alleged sexual assaults and rapes and the Tuesday arrest of former Vol Mack Crowder on child solicitation charges in Florida.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.