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UT football player faces aggravated assault charge

Jaylen McCollough, a senior starting safety, was being held Sunday night at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A University of Tennessee football player faces a felony assault charge after punching a man Sunday afternoon at a Fort Sanders apartment complex, records state.

Jaylen McCollough, a senior starting safety, was being held Sunday night at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on an aggravated assault charge.

According to records, he was booked at about 9:15 p.m. Sunday.

A warrant states that McCollough, of Austell, Ga., punched Zion Spencer, who said he mistakenly entered an apartment on Grand Avenue while McCollough was inside.

The man said he'd been drinking with friends that lived in the complex Sunday afternoon. He told authorities he stepped away to get something from a vehicle and when he headed back he went to the wrong building, the warrant said. 

He went to what he thought was his friend's building on the top floor and knocked on the door but no one answered. He then opened the unlocked door and went inside.

"Mr. Spencer then stated that he immediately realized that he had entered the wrong apartment and apologized before closing the door and began walking back towards the stairs in the common area. Mr. Spencer said that an unknown male pursued him out of the apartment and started getting aggressive."

As he was walking away, he heard footsteps behind him. He turned around and the man punched him in the face.

"He fell backwards down the stairs and lost consciousness," the warrant states.

When he came to, another man and a woman who turned out to be McCollough's girlfriend were trying to help him to his feet. Police were called.

Spencer "had blood and swelling on his mouth and had multiple missing and broken teeth," according to the warrant.

Police found blood on the stairs leading to the top floor of the building.

"Officers attempted to make contact with the occupants of the apartment but were unsuccessful," the warrant said.

Police found the girlfriend in her car in the parking lot. According to the warrant, she called McCollough back to the scene.

"Mr. McCollough walked back to the scene with his right hand in bandages and blood showing through the bandage," the warrant states.

Officers read him his rights. He declined to speak. Police took him into custody.

Coach Josh Heupel said he "learned of it really late" Sunday, but did not have any updates on McCollough during his Monday afternoon media availability.

"As they go about gathering the facts from it, we'll go from there," he said.

McCollough's attorney released a statement Monday afternoon saying he is cooperating with the university and with the police department on an investigation into the incident. The full statement is below.

"Mr. McCollough is cooperating fully with the university and Knoxville Police Department’s investigation into these allegations. He looks forward to a speedy resolution to this matter and maintains his complete innocence.”

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