Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson can practice, but not likely to play Saturday

Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson can practice, but not likely to play Saturday

September 11th, 2019 by Gene Henley in Breaking News

Updated with more information at 9:45 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2019.

Bryce Thompson

Bryce Thompson

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt announced Wednesday that sophomore cornerback Bryce Thompson would return to practice.

Thompson had been suspended from the team indefinitely after his Aug. 25 arrest on a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault after an argument with his girlfriend.

"As university processes have progressed relating to Bryce Thompson, we've all taken this situation very seriously," Pruitt said in a released statement. "I believe Bryce can grow by following the plan the university has put in place for him. As a result, I am allowing him to return to practice."

It's unlikely Thompson will play Saturday against Football Championship Subdivision opponent the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, with Pruitt noting during his Wednesday evening news conference that "it's hard to play when you haven't been practicing."

"He's been away from the team for three weeks," Pruitt added. "He's been in school here. There's still lots of things that have to go on here with his situation. He obviously made a mistake, but he needs to be around the football team.

"He's not practiced in three weeks, so he needs to practice. It's good for him."

According to police and court records obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel, the sophomore defensive back and a woman got into an argument on Aug. 25 at Stokely Hall, an on-campus dormitory, with Thompson telling her he would "slap the (expletive) out of " her and threatening to "shoot up the school," witnesses told police.

Thompson was released from jail that same morning and had been attending classes since the release. He had a court date on Sept. 3 and now has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 23 in Knoxville.

He admitted to breaking a metal gate at the end of the hallway of the dorm but denied making any threats of physical contact with her, and the woman told police she couldn't remember "the entirety of what had occurred between the two as it was a stressful volatile situation," though she did mention Thompson has punched walls in their past arguments and has a temper.

Thompson and the woman told officers they have been in a relationship for four years. The argument occurred after she "found another girl's fake eyelashes" in Thompson's room.

One witness heard the two threats and the noise of gate crashing and said he saw Thompson.

Another witness heard the slapping threat and the crash, and another heard yelling and the shooting threat. Although neither of those two saw Thompson at the time, they identified him by saying "it was the same time and incident" reported by the witness who said he did see Thompson.

According to the police report, Thompson was taken into custody and charged with domestic assault because he caused his girlfriend to "reasonably fear imminent bodily injury."

The 5-foot-11, 181-pounder was a four-star recruit from Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina, in the 2018 signing class. He played in all 12 games for the Volunteers last season, starting 10, and had 34 tackles (four for loss) with a sack, three interceptions, 10 passes defended and a forced fumble.

Those accomplishments led to him being named one of the Southeastern Conference's All-Freshman honorees and making the Football Writers Association of America's Freshman All-America lineup.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.