Tennessee DB Jaylen McCollough Cleared To Play After New Evidence Sheds Light On Alleged Assault Incident: EXCLUSIVE

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The attorney for Tennessee starting defensive back Jaylen McCollough has entered new evidence regarding the felony aggravated assault charge that sheds new light on a case that has kept McCollough sidelined for the past two games.

Due to the new evidence submitted, McCollough has now been cleared to play by an independent review board at Tennessee. Head coach Josh Heupel and the UT athletics department will make the ultimate decision on when McCollough will play, which would most likely be Saturday against Kentucky, sources told OutKick on Thursday.

By clearing him, the university is standing behind McCollough and have made that clear with their ruling on Wednesday. McCollough was never suspended during this time.

This review board is not connected to the Student Conduct Board. This decision was made on Wednesday, while the student conduct board decision was made last week.

McCollough has the opportunity to play this weekend, if Josh Heupel feels he is ready from a health perspective, sources added. Either way, the chances are high that Jaylen is suited up on Saturday. The Vols defensive back has been practicing with the team.

After weeks of back and forth with the Knoxville Police Department and District Attorney's office, on Wednesday evening, attorney Chloe Akers filed two motions that tell the side of McCollough and witnesses regarding the Oct. 9 incident at the apartment complex where McCollough lives.


McCollough was charged with aggravated assault because the plaintiff, Zion Spencer, told police that McCollough punched him and pushed him down a flight of stairs after Spencer accidentally entered the wrong apartment.

The filed motions note that McCollough feared for his well being and was under the impression that Spencer broke into the apartment. McCollough and his roommate Warren Burrell (also a Tennessee defensive back) asked Spencer to leave the apartment numerous times. After Spencer backed up just outside the door, it's alleged that Spencer tried to re-enter the apartment, which is when McCollough punched him one time.

According to the motion, Spencer told police he'd been drinking that day and was holding a bottle of vodka while giving police his statement.

After Knoxville police arrived at the scene, McCollough did not answer any questions, choosing to give a statement to police a few days later.

Plaintiff Allegations Against Jaylen McCollough

In the original report, Spencer told officers he had been drinking with friends that afternoon in the same complex and went to retrieve items from his vehicle. 

Spencer stated that when he returned, he thought he went back to his friend’s apartment. He did not realize he went to the wrong building on the way back. It was after this moment that McCollough approached Spencer in the walkway and allegedly punched him in the mouth, causing the plaintiff to fall down the stairs. 

According to the report, Spencer had a bruised face, missing teeth and was bleeding. In the first report, it was noted that McCollough was not originally there when police arrived and he returned to the scene with bandages on his hand.

A preliminary hearing on the case has been set for Nov. 18. As part of the update, McCollough's attorney has suggested a Nov. 1 date to hear the new motion.

No. 3 Tennessee plays No. 19 Kentucky on Saturday in a showdown that has major SEC East implications. Next Saturday, Nov. 5, the Vols play No. 1-ranked Georgia in Athens.

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Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series. Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football "Credit Card Scandal" along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.