Captain for No. 6 Tennessee charged with aggravated assault

tennessee football
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee starting safety and captain Jaylen McCollough has been arrested for aggravated felony assault, putting his status for Saturday’s game against No. 3 Alabama in question for the sixth-ranked Volunteers.

Coach Josh Heupel said the team learned about McCollough’s arrest on Sunday night. The Volunteers (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) host Alabama (6-0, 3-0) on Saturday.

“As they gather information, we’ll have a conversation based on the facts of it and then go from there,” Heupel said.

This is the third arrest for the Vols since mid-August, and the other two players were kicked off the team. Linebacker William Mohan, a Michigan transfer, was arrested on a charge of felony aggravated domestic assault, and offensive lineman Savion Herring was arrested for domestic assault.

McCollough is a four-year starter for Tennessee and is tied for fourth with 23 tackles. He had seven in a 40-13 win over then-No. 25 LSU on Saturday.

The 21-year-old safety was arrested on Sunday. An arrest warrant obtained by Knox News shows police responding around 3:30 p.m. to an apartment complex where they found a man missing teeth with his mouth bloody and swollen.

The man told police he had been drinking with friends and went to get something from his vehicle. The man says he went to the wrong building, knocked and opened an unlocked door to go inside. The police report says the man realized then he had gone into the wrong apartment, apologized and left.

The man told police he apologized again when someone followed him out and allegedly punched him in the face, causing him to fall down stairs and knocking him unconscious.

Police spoke to a woman who called McCollough back to the scene, and the safety had blood seeping through a bandage on his right hand. McCollough did not answer questions and was arrested, police said.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE – Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.

Penix announced his decision on social media and it was a surprising one at that. Penix was the national leader in passing this season, throwing for 4,354 yards and led Washington’s turnaround. The No. 12-ranked Huskies went 10-2 in the regular season, finished tied for second in the Pac-12 and will face No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Penix will have a chance at setting Washington’s single-season record for yards passing in the bowl game. He also threw 29 touchdowns this season. Because of his performance this season, Penix saw his NFL draft stock rise to where he was being expected to be a second-day pick at the latest.

In his announcement, Penix wrote, “As I look back on this special season we had, I realized there were so many great moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW there is so much for out there for this team and the job is still not finished. I can’t wait to be playing in Husky Stadium for the 2023 season!”

Penix started his career at Indiana and showed flashes of stardom while also battling injuries. He transferred to Washington after the 2021 season, a move that reunited him with new Huskies’ coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator for one season at Indiana.

North Texas fires Littrell after .500 record over 7 years

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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DENTON, Texas – Bowl-bound North Texas has fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 over seven seasons.

University president Neal Smatresk said Sunday night that the decision to make the move came after a thorough assessment of the program.

The Mean Green are 7-6 this season after losing 48-27 to UTSA in the Conference USA championship game Friday night.

Phil Bennett, their defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was named interim head coach. North Texas plays Boise State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 17.

The 44-year-old Littrell had one year left on his contract in what was his first head coaching job. He was the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest at the FBS level when he arrived after two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina with UNT coming off a 1-11 season at the time.

While the Mean Green are going to their sixth bowl since Littrell first got there, they haven’t won any of those yet. The bowl in his debut season came after only five wins since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the slots. Consecutive nine-win seasons followed in 2017 and 2018, but they then had three consecutive losing records before this year.

North Texas also has an interim athletic director after Wren Baker was named as West Virginia’s AD last week.

Smatresk said Jared Mosley, the chief operating officer of UNT athletics, will serve as interim AD. The university is working with a search firm to find Baker’s successor.