McDaniel gets probation for throwing punch

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee defensive tackle Tony McDaniel pleaded guilty Thursday to hitting a student in the face during a pickup basketball game in January.

McDaniel, suspended since the incident, will be allowed to return to the team, but coach Phillip Fulmer announced that McDaniel will have to sit out the first two games of the season, complete community service, attend anger management counseling and abide by a curfew for the fall semester.

"He is a good young man that made a bad decision and now has a second chance to move forward. I hope and feel he will take advantage of it," Fulmer said.

McDaniel made a deal with prosecutors to have the original felony charge reduced to misdemeanor assault. He was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days but was placed on immediate probation and isn't expected to spend any time in jail.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Ray Jenkins told McDaniel that he will remain under supervised probation until he pays restitution to the victim.

McDaniel was charged with aggravated assault in January and could have faced up to six years if convicted under the felony charge.

His case was also dealt with by the university, which placed him on indefinite probation. He was suspended for the summer school sessions and is not allowed to enter the student recreation center where the fight took place, school officials said.

The 6-foot-7, 295-pound McDaniel was accused of hitting Edward Goodrich, a 26-year-old student. Goodrich testified during a hearing in April that the punch broke his face in four places and doctors had to insert a metal plate to treat his injuries.

McDaniel declined to be interviewed after the hearing. His attorney, Don Bosch, said he was very pleased with the outcome.

"We appreciate Mr. Goodrich's position and, frankly, the seriousness of his injuries. This is a very serious matter that was unintended by Tony. We're going to make this right with Mr. Goodrich," Bosch said.

McDaniel, who will be a junior this fall, made his first career start for Tennessee in the Volunteers' 38-7 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

The defensive tackle is one of 13 Tennessee players who have been either arrested or cited for crimes ranging from aggravated assault to underage drinking since February 2004.