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Defensive end Ryan Thaxton, dismissed by UT, to join Bulls

The former three-star prospect played at a community college last season
USF coach Charlie Strong begins his third preseason camp on Thursday, with the initial practice set for Friday. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
USF coach Charlie Strong begins his third preseason camp on Thursday, with the initial practice set for Friday. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Jul. 26, 2019

The Bulls have added another reinforcement ― one that could generate some public push-back ― to their 2019 defense.

Former Tennessee defensive end Ryan Thaxton, dismissed last summer following his arrest on charges of domestic assault and false imprisonment, has been cleared to join USF and is expected to begin participating in preseason camp in mid-August, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

USF players report to camp on Thursday and begin practice Friday.

MORE USF: USF men to play FSU in December

A native of Alexandria, Va., Thaxton initially was accused last summer of pushing his girlfriend toward his room when she refused to accompany him to his dorm. Thaxton then carried her inside the dorm room, where an argument took place, and he blocked the door when she attempted to leave, according to records.

He was dismissed by UT on July 23, eight days after his arrest. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of false imprisonment, with the domestic assault charged tossed due to insufficient facts, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The News Sentinel reported in October that Thaxton was required to pay court costs, attend anger management classes and stay out of trouble for 11 months and 29 days to have the false imprisonment charge dismissed.

After exhaustively researching the incident, Bulls coaches felt comfortable giving Thaxton another chance to play Division I-A football.

He played last season at Fort Scott Community College, where he was listed at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds. A consensus three-star prospect from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, he was ranked the nation’s No. 95 defensive end in the Class of 2017 by ESPN.

It is believed he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.


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  2. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
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  4. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
  5. BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times
Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
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  7. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday.
  8. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role.
  9. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  10. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today.
  11. USF coach Brian Gregory, pacing the sideline during a January game at the Yuengling Center, watched his team score only 11 first-half points in Saturday's 56-48 loss to Tulsa. [OCTAVIO JONES | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  12. USF interim coach Jess Moore watches her team from the dugout on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.