KNOXVILLE – Two current Tennessee football players and two former ones were arrested in Knox County early Sunday morning.
Linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive tackle Danny O’Brien, both current players, and linebacker Dontavis Sapp, who finished his eligibility in 2013, are all listed on the online version of Knox County Sheriff Office’s 24-hour arrest list.
Former UT walk-on lineman Isaac Mobley, who last played on the team in 2012, is also listed on the arrest list.
Court dates have been set for Johnson on Feb. 21, 2014, while Sapp and O’Brien are set to appear on Feb. 20.
The arrests of Johnson and O’Brien are the first known legal incidents for the football program since coach Butch Jones took over in December of 2013. Tight end Brendan Downs was arrested on Nov. 25, 2012 – leaving a span of nearly 450 days in between without a known arrest for the football team.
“We are aware of the situation and are still in the preliminary stages of gathering all facts and information,” coach Butch Jones said in a statement Sunday morning. “We have very high standards and expectations within our football program at the University of Tennessee, and appropriate action will be taken.”
Johnson, coming off back-to-back 100-tackle seasons, is one of UT’s top returning players on defense. Projected as a potential mid-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the native of Gainesville, Ga., opted to return to Tennessee for his senior season in 2014.
O’Brien, a rising redshirt sophomore, appeared in every game in 2013 as an important part of the D-tackle rotation. The native of Flint, Mich., recorded 12 tackles, one sack and three TFLs. With the departure of starting DTs Daniel Hood and Daniel McCullers, O’Brien should compete for a starting nod next season.
Sapp, a native of Valdosta, Ga., just completed his eligibility at UT. A regular on special teams early in his career, he worked his way up to a starting role in his senior season, piling up 66 tackles in 2013, and at least working his way into consideration for a professional career.
Update 3:40 p.m. ET: O’Brien is facing charges of resisting arrest, underage drinking and criminal impersonation for providing the police with false identification. Sapp and Johnson are being charged with providing alcohol to persons under 21 and resisting arrest, according a press release put out by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
The KCSO included this description of the incident in the release:
“Just after 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, officers with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to Quarry Trail Apartments located at 1410 Sandstone Drive for a loud party complaint. Officers spoke with Sapp, who lives at the apartment, and he assured them that he would quieten down the party. As the officers left, someone turned the music back up and the party was again warned to be quieter. About 30 minutes later, KCSO officers were advised of a fight outside the apartment. O’Brien presented officers with a fake ID, signifying that he was over 21-years-old. According to the arrest warrant, officers noted that he ‘had a very strong odor of alcohol on his breath and became combative’ as officers took him into custody.”
O’Brien’s bond was set at $1500. Johnson and Sapp’s were set at $1000 each.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga