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Feb 18, 2016 12:00 PM EST

Alexis Johnson Arrested for Assaulting Woman, Vols' Defensive Tackle Suspended


The University of Tennessee suspended Alexis Johnson from the football team after he was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

A defensive tackle who recently transferred from a junior college, Johnson allegedly choked and punched his girlfriend in his Volunteer Hall apartment, The Tennessean reported.

The woman told UT police the two were "play fighting" between 3 and 5 a.m. when Johnson escalated to physical violence, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Knoxville News Sentinel. The six-foot-four, 295-pound defensive lineman allegedly choked the woman to the point where she almost passed out. A witness told the police Johnson apparently hit her as well, The Sentinel reported.

"We are aware of the report concerning Alexis Johnson. He has been suspended from all football activities. We will have no further comment at this time," Ryan Robinson, a spokesman for UT, wrote to The Knoxville Times Free Press in a text message.

While the precise details of the "play fighting" the woman described are unclear, the report stated Johnson was trying to "touch and kiss her" against her will. The report also included sexual battery as a possible charge, as the woman told officers she told Johnson she "did not want to have sex with him."

Johnson's arraignment is scheduled for March 1, The Tennessean reported. Only enrolled at UT since January, his potential reinstatement to the football team will likely hinge on how this case unfolds.

Last week, six women filed a Title IX lawsuit against UT for fostering a "hostile sexual" environment for women and favoring football players accused of such crimes. A few days later, it came to light that Peyton Manning was included in the lawsuit for allegedly shoving his rectum in a female trainer's face in the late 1990s when he played for the Volunteers.

And just yesterday, a former UT football player coming off his senior season was arrested in a child sex sting. Mackenzie Crowder texted sexually lewd photos to a phone number he believed belonged to a 14-year-old girl.

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