The dismissal of one Tennessee Vols football player and the release of another leads our Volunteers news for Monday, July 23, 2018.
SEC Media Days is now in the rearview mirror, and the beginning of the preseason is right around the corner for the Tennessee Vols. But the limbo period between that begins with some unfortunate news on Monday.
As we get set to bring you today’s updates on Rocky Top, a current player being dismissed and an incoming recruit being granted a release take the lead. On top of that, there is a rape trial set to begin for multiple former Vols.
So yes, there’s lots of bad news. The final update, though, is at least a feel-good story of another former Vol back in Tennessee. We’ll get to all of that, starting with the really bad news.
Tennessee Vols dismiss linebacker Ryan Thaxton – Grant Ramey, GoVols247
Tennessee football has dismissed redshirt freshman linebacker Ryan Thaxton. The dismissal comes a week after a report of domestic assault and false imprisonment charges, which happened right as SEC Media Days began.
"Thaxton, a redshirt freshman outside linebacker and defensive end, did not play last season, and he was expected to enter preseason camp closer to the bottom than the top of the depth chart at his position. He considered playing college basketball before choosing to play football at Tennessee, and he’s been considered a developmental prospect with upside as an edge defender."
Four-star defensive lineman Brant Lawless granted release – Austin Price, VolQuest
A member of Tennessee football’s 2018 recruiting class has been granted a release. Brant Lawless, a four-star defensive tackle, had not been able to enroll in the summer due to academic coursework that still needed to be completed. He then asked for and was granted a release over the weekend.
"As for potential landing spots, sources tell Volquest that North Carolina is on Lawless’ shortlist with former Vol defensive assistant Tommy Thigpen currently in Chapel Hill.Tennessee is currently awaiting linebacker J.J. Peterson, who has also not made it to campus. The 4-star linebacker is expected to arrive at Tennessee in the next week to 10 days for the start of fall camp."
The rape trial of former Tennessee Vols football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams is set to begin Monday. Johnson and Williams are accused of raping a female UT athlete at a party back in 2014.
"Officials said earlier in the week that media exposure generated from the case is creating several challenges when picking a fair and impartial jury."
Josh Dobbs speaks at church in West Tennessee – Brandon Shields, Jackson Sun
Former Tennessee football quarterback Joshua Dobbs spoke at Chapel Hill Baptist Church over the weekend in Milan, Tenn., which is in Gibson County. Dobbs discussed his daily life and work ethic growing up, having to balance academics and sports.
"Dobbs discussed his early life, playing baseball at age 4 and football a year later. He played basketball a few years too, but gave that up to focus on baseball and football more in high school.“Those were my passions and what I thought would be probably what I would play in college, so I focused on that,” Dobbs said."