Starting senior safety Jaylen McCollough was unavailable on Saturday for Tennessee’s win over Alabama, following an arrest on the previous Sunday. However, according to Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, he may not be out for too much longer.
The day after the LSU win, McCollough was arrested on a charge of aggravated felony assault. Though it was said by ESPN and others that McCollough was out due to disciplinary reasons, Heupel clarified on Monday, saying he was simply unavailable. There’s a process that has to play out here, but the situation couldn’t be resolved by Saturday.
#Vols coach Josh Heupel said Jaylen McCollough is not suspended but was just not available for the Alabama game. Said "looking forward to having him back soon" once the process is complete.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 17, 2022
Reading between the lines: They're buying his version of the story.
According to the police report, McCollough allegedly pursued and punched a man after he mistakenly entered the wrong apartment.
Doneiko Slaughter got the start in place of McCollough. Tennessee was also missing a couple of cornerbacks, and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young naturally had his way with a patchwork secondary.
Tennessee moved up to No. 3 in the AP poll on Sunday and is now setup to make a run at the College Football Playoff. They take on UT-Martin this week before hosting No. 19 Kentucky on October 29th. A trip to No. 1 Georgia will follow. Potentially getting a senior safety back for those two matchups would obviously be a big deal, but to be clear, Heupel didn’t provide a specific timeline.
We’ll see, but Heupel sounds optimistic.