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Tennessee starting safety faces aggravated assault charge before game against No. 3 Alabama

Jaylen McCollough, starting safety and captain for the Tennessee Volunteers football team, was arrested on an aggravated felony assault charge on Sunday. 

According to the arrest warrant acquired by the Knoxville News Sentinel, McCollough was arrested Sunday afternoon after allegedly punching a man at a Knoxville apartment complex who had accidentally entered McCollough’s apartment. 

Jayden Daniels, #5 of the LSU Tigers, runs with the ball as Jaylen McCollough, #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers, defends during the first half a game at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 8, 2022 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Jayden Daniels, #5 of the LSU Tigers, runs with the ball as Jaylen McCollough, #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers, defends during the first half a game at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 8, 2022 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The man, who reportedly said he had been drinking with friends in the apartment complex, entered the wrong building after receiving no answer from knocking. The man apologized to the residents and left after realizing that he was in the wrong apartment. 

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He told police that a man pursued him and became aggressive. After apologizing again and telling the man he “didn’t have to be a (expletive) about it,” he told police that he was punched in the face, falling down a flight of stairs and losing consciousness. 

The man reportedly had missing teeth and a bloody, swollen mouth, according to Knox News. 

LSU tight end Mason Taylor, #86, is upended on a pass reception near the goal line by Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers, left, and defensive back Jaylen McCollough in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. 

LSU tight end Mason Taylor, #86, is upended on a pass reception near the goal line by Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers, left, and defensive back Jaylen McCollough in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

“Mr. McCollough is cooperating fully with both the University of Tennessee and Knoxville Police Department investigations into these allegations,” McCollough’s attorney Chloe Akers said, according to OutKick. “He looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter and maintains his complete innocence.” 

McCollough’s status for Tennessee’s game against No. 3 Alabama on Saturday is unclear. 

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“We learned of it really late (Sunday),” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said Monday. “As we gather more information, I’ll have more for you.

“As they (Tennessee administrators) gather information, we’ll have a conversation based on the facts of it. And then we’ll go from there.”

McCollough is a senior and a four-year starter for the Volunteers and has 23 tackles during the 2022 college football season. 

Tennessee defensive back Jaylen McCollough, #2, in action during the college football game between the Akron Zips and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Tennessee defensive back Jaylen McCollough, #2, in action during the college football game between the Akron Zips and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.
(Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tennessee has lost 15 straight games to Alabama, with their last win coming in 2006, a year before Nick Saban became the head coach of the Crimson Tide. 

“We have a lot of great leadership within our (defensive back) room,” cornerback Christian Charles said, according to Knox News. “No matter who has to step up to the plate and no matter the situation, I feel like we’re all going to do a great job in preparing whoever it is to take on that role, no matter what (the situation) is.”

No. 6 Tennessee and No. 3 Alabama kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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