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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.

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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 jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.