Pruitt Announces Bryce Thompson Allowed Back at Practice

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    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    Though he’s still waiting for another court date in two weeks, sophomore defensive back Bryce Thompson has been cleared to return to practice by UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

    Tennessee and Pruitt announced on Wednesday afternoon that Thompson’s indefinite suspension has been lifted, and the sophomore cornerback from Irmo, South Carolina will be allowed to practice with the team again.

    “As university processes have progressed relating to Bryce Thompson, we’ve all taken this situation very seriously,” Pruitt said via a statement. “I believe Bryce can grow by following the plan the university has put in place for him. As a result, I am allowing him to return to practice.”

    Thompson was suspended indefinitely by Pruitt on August 26th after an incident occurred the previous weekend involving an unidentified woman and Thompson. The Vol cornerback was charged with domestic assault following the incident.

    According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Thompson and an unidentified woman were arguing at the Stokley Hall Dorms on UT’s campus. Thompson was allegedly overheard threatening the woman, and a witness claims he threatened to “shoot up the school” as well.

    The responding officer says damage to the dorm hall building was seen, and a gate was ripped off its hinges. There was damage to the sheetrock where the gate had apparently impacted the wall. Thompson stated that he fell into the gate, causing it to rip off from its hinges. The sophomore DB also claimed to have fallen down the stairs with the gate, though the arrest report states that there were no marks on Thompson to indicate this happened.

    After being read his Miranda Rights, Thompson admitted that the gate broke as he tried to pull it upwards, and he let it fall down the stairs.

    According to a witness who called 911, Thompson was overheard saying he was going to “slap the (expletive) out of you” to the woman. Officers separated Thompson and the woman involved with the altercation, and one of the officers described Thompson as “extremely upset and agitated” in a stairwell of Stokely Hall.

    Thompson admitted to arguing with the woman, but he denied making any physical contact with her and denied making any verbal threats.

    Both Thompson and the woman involved in the incident confirmed that they have been in a relationship with one another for four years, and the two were engaged in a sexual relationship. The woman confirmed Thompson’s statement about their relationship in her written statement to the officers.

    After receiving statements from witnesses and assessing the situation, Thompson was arrested and charged with domestic assault. No citation was issued for domestic violence. Thompson appeared in court on September 3rd for his misdemeanor domestic assault charge, and he has another court date scheduled for September 23rd.

    Thompson was arrested and released from jail overnight after the altercation.

    As a true freshman, Thompson played in all 12 games for the Vols and made 10 starts. He was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and was selected to the 2018 SEC All-Freshman Team. Thompson was one of three true freshmen to earn starts in the secondary for the Vols in 2018.

    Thompson finished his freshman campaign with 34 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, three interceptions, 10 passes defended, and a forced fumble. He also returned four kick-offs for an average of 25 yards a return.

    With Thompson returning to practice, it’s assumed he will be cleared to play in Tennessee’s Week 3 match-up this weekend against UT-Chattanooga. Jeremy Pruitt will meet with the media on Wednesday afternoon after UT’s practice and will address Thompson’s status then.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.