The long, winding, and controversial career of uber-talented and often-troubled Tennessee safety Janzen Jackson has come to an end, as coach Derek Dooley announced that he'd been dismissed from the team prior to this morning's practice. GoVolsExtra.com was the first to report this story.
While no reason has officially been given (and likely won't be), ESPN Knoxville’s Jayson Swain has reported via Twitter it was due to a positive drug test.
Dooley quickly addressed the media, telling GoVolsExtra:
“Our program has devoted a tremendous amount of energy, resources, support, and care in an effort to help Janzen manage his personal challenges,” Dooley said in the release. “I will always be there to help him as a person, but there comes a time when a player’s actions preclude him from the privilege of playing for the University of Tennessee football team."
To Dooley’s point, the Tennessee football program has given quite a bit to Jackson.
Jackson originally committed to the Vols back in February 2009, and was one of the coups of Lane Kiffin’s first- and only- recruiting class on Rocky Top. At the time, Janzen was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation and No. 17 player overall by Rivals.com. He’d been a long-time LSU commit, before ultimately switching to Tennessee just before National Signing.
But with the undeniable talent that Jackson displayed, there always seemed to be trouble.
He was famously involved with a gas station armed robbery during his freshman year that saw fellow five-star recruit Nu’Keese Richardson as well as another player named Mike Edwards kicked off the team. Charges were dropped against Jackson, after it was proven that he had no knowledge of the crime prior to it happening. Jackson had been in the car when the incident took place.
And since then, there’ve only been more problems. Jackson withdrew from the university last spring, in the process, missing all of spring practice and part of summer workouts. He was reinstated just a few weeks ago.
At the time he told reporters:
"I didn't think I was gone, but I thought there was a slim chance I wouldn't come back because I had to get some things in order to get back out on the field. I had to take care of some stuff, but I'm definitely happy to be back out here in orange."
Now, just weeks later, his major college football career is over.
What’s maybe most disappointing of course, is that when he was actually on the field, Jackson was a phenomenal football player. He earned All-SEC second team honors last year, with four interceptions and 69 tackles.
With Jackson gone, Tennessee beat writer Wes Rucker speculates that Prentiss Waggner will move back from quarterback to Jackson's safety spot.