Head coach Phillip Fulmer announced Tuesday that Daryl Vereen - arrested on charges of public intoxication and underage consumption in the wee hours of Monday morning - must perform additional community service as penance. He also must accompany Knoxville police on ride-alongs and adhere to a curfew in the coming months.
According to The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Vereen was arrested at around 3 a.m. Monday when police responded to reports of a fight outside the Gibbs Hall Dormitory. Approximately 10 combatants reportedly were involved.
Vereen, a 6-0, 196-pounder from Charlotte, N.C., allegedly appeared unsteady as he walked toward his Jeep Cherokee, parked in a nearby fire lane. Vereen allegedly climbed into the driver's side of the vehicle, even as police repeatedly warned him not to do so. Police reports noted he had a bloody lip, slurred speech and the odor of alcohol about him.
Vereen is the fourth Vol to incur Fulmer's wrath for a drug-related matter this month. Interestingly enough, all four of the players involved are freshmen.
Wide receivers Ahmad Paige and Gerald Jones were cited by police Jan. 11 for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Lineman William Brimfield, a passenger in the same car, was not charged by police. Still, Fulmer assessed the same penalties accorded Paige and Jones - community service at a drug facility, police ride-alongs and more frequent drug testing.
Jones was a significant contributor as a receiver and direct-snap tailback for the 2007 Vols. Paige, Brimfield and Vereen sat out the '07 season as redshirts but are projected to play key roles in '08.
In a statement released by the university regarding Vereen's arrest, Fulmer said he is "extremely disappointed in Daryl and his actions," adding:
“I have met with him individually and talked with his parents. He is aware that I will not tolerate this type of behavior and he has a lot of work to do, including performing community service with a drug rehabilitation facility, participating in police ride-alongs and a semester-long curfew.”
Fulmer dealt with the latest incident upon returning to Knoxville late Monday night following a recruiting trip. Frustrated that the disciplinary action against Paige, Jones and Brimfield did not have the desired effect on their teammates, the head man sent a stronger message this time, ordering the entire team to do penalty running at 6 o’clock Tuesday morning.
“We have a great group of young men, but the actions of a few taint the image of all of them,” Fulmer said. “These young men need to understand that they represent the University of Tennessee and our football program and these immature actions need to stop.”