Updated Wednesday 12:01 PM ET - As mentioned in the comments below, Clear was found in possession of a laptop belonging to a Tennessee baseball player. Clear has now been suspended indefinitely.
Reports of laptops stolen from the dorm rooms of UT football players have been circulating for weeks, and unfortunately today it would appear that rumor has become fact. Jimmy Hyams of WNML The Sports Animal in Knoxville tweeted the following:
UT soph tight end Cameron Clear was arrested at 4:58 pm by KPD and charged with possession of stolen property. He was in jail as of 7:15 pm— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) May 22, 2012
This comes as a big blow for several reasons. Clear, a sophomore tight end, caught just one pass for the Vols last season. But a strong spring and an almost complete removal of the fullback from UT's offensive gameplan were thought to give the 6'6" Clear a huge opportunity in 2012; he has physical tools at his position that cannot be replaced by anyone else on the roster.
This situation will also raise some internal questions - anytime you have teammates stealing from one another, you face a huge chemistry issue if the situation is not resolved properly. With Clear in custody, we're unsure what Derek Dooley's next move will be (suspension? dismissal?), but for a team that walks with such great potential on such thin ice, the head coach must make the right call here.
The Vols still have weapons in the passing game, to be sure, and if Clear is absent then it falls to Brendan Downs to step up and join Mychal Rivera in leading the way at the tight end position. But most importantly here, Dooley and the leadership within the team - whoever that is - must handle this the right way to ensure the Vols can move forward as a team, with or without Cam Clear.
More updates as they come...