Tennessee football's Kivon Bennett dismissed after arrest on gun, drug charges
He is facing gun and drug charges, two of which are felony charges.
“Kivon Bennett has been dismissed from our football program following a traffic stop earlier today," coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a statement. "There is a standard our student-athletes are expected to uphold at Tennessee, and today’s incident fell well short of that standard.”
Police, during a vehicle search, found more than 44 grams of marijuana, a scale, 58 plastic baggies and a loaded Glock 17 9mm handgun, according to the police report.
Bennett faces felony charges of marijuana possession and possession of a firearm during commission or attempt to commit a felony, along with misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Possessing more than half an ounce of marijuana is a felony in Tennessee, and the felony gun possession charge stems from the marijuana possession charge being a felony.
Knoxville lawyer Gregory P. Isaacs confirmed that his law firm has been retained to represent Bennett.
“We are investigating the facts and circumstances of his stop and subsequent arrest,” Isaacs told Knox News.
Bennett is one of Tennessee's top defensive players, and he is tied for the team lead with 4½ sacks.
UTPD stopped Bennett around 11:21 a.m. Tuesday for traveling 59 mph in a 45 mph speed zone on Neyland Drive, according to arrest records.
An officer smelled marijuana and asked Bennett if he had marijuana in the vehicle, the police report states. Bennett told police he had marijuana in a backpack along with plastic baggies in the vehicle, and he later told police that he smoked marijuana once per day.
Asked if he had any weapons in the vehicle, Bennett told police he had a handgun under his driver’s seat, according to the police report. Bennett told police the gun was his and that he bought it at a gun show.
Bennett, a junior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was in the midst of his best season. His 7½ tackles for loss are tied for fifth in the SEC.
Bennett, the son of former NFL linebacker Cornelius Bennett, signed with Tennessee as a three-star prospect in the 2017 recruiting class while Butch Jones was UT's coach.
Bennett played sparingly during his first two seasons before emerging as a key backup last year. He scored a defensive touchdown this season against Georgia when he recovered a fumble in the end zone. Bennett had appeared in all seven games this season, starting four, and logged 22 tackles.
Bennett joins running back Tim Jordan as the second player to be dismissed by Tennessee this year following an arrest on gun and drug charges. Jordan, in July, pleaded down to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Additionally, defensive lineman Emmit Gooden was dismissed following his July arrest on a felony aggravated domestic assault charge. Gooden pleaded guilty in November to misdemeanor domestic assault.
Bennett and Deandre Johnson were Tennessee's top outside linebackers. Without Bennett, Tyler Baron and Roman Harrison are in line for an uptick in playing time.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake's subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.