Upshaw, girlfriend face charges

Updated: August 20, 2009, 8:39 PM ET
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and a female student identified as his girlfriend were free on bond Thursday after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and third-degree harassment.

University police charged Upshaw and Kendall Lynn Gryzb, both 19, after an altercation at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the campus recreation center, according to documents filed at Tuscaloosa County district court.

Upshaw practiced Thursday afternoon and afterward coach Nick Saban said he would not be suspended for the opener Sept. 5 against Virginia Tech but would be punished internally and placed on "behavior probation." He said it was the first time Upshaw has had an issue on or off the field since arriving on campus.

"This is as fine a young man as we have in the program," Saban said. "Really a great person. Really works hard academically. I couldn't ask anybody to be a better representative of the organization than he is. He really overachieves as a football player.

"I think he was put in a little bit of an uncompromising position and didn't handle it very well. He obviously made a mistake in how he handled the situation and I think nobody feels worse than he does."

The 6-foot-2, 249-pound sophomore is competing with Eryk Anders for a starting job at outside linebacker, after playing in the final 13 games last season and making 22 tackles.

Arresting officer Rusty Romine said he spotted Upshaw following Gryzb in the parking lot. He said she appeared to be shouting at Upshaw after he caught up with her.

"At this time Upshaw grabbed Gryzb by the back of the neck and hair" and appeared to try to push her down, Romine wrote in a deposition and charge sheet.

He said she freed herself and attempted to hit Upshaw in the face but missed, then the player grabbed her forearm and pushed her away.

Romine said he separated the two. The officer said both indicated the altercation started after Grzyb saw Upshaw talking to another female. Grzyb said she slapped him and walked away, then Upshaw followed her, the report said.

Upshaw was a highly touted recruit out of Eufaula High School. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain said the team was behind Upshaw.

"I don't really know the whole situation, what went down, but I know we support Courtney to the fullest," McClain said. "It's unfortunate that that happened, especially to him. He's a good guy. I think he's going to contribute to this defense.

"It happened, but it's not going to affect us as a team."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press