February 8th, 2011 08:37 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Tennessee
Tags: Music City Bowl, NCAA, Sure Jackson, UT
Until now, junior-to-be safety Janzen Jackson has been the exception to the rule — the big-name signee from Lane Kiffin’s first signing class that had panned out on the field. Sure Jackson has had his share of troubles off the field:
* Arrested but not charged in an attempted armed robbery as a freshman (two other players were charged and dismissed from the team)
* Kiffin hit him with an additional suspension for a violation of team rules during his freshman year
* He has undergone drug rehab (at least once)
* He was on-hand (but uncharged) for a much publicized brawl at Knoxville bar last summer
* In December, there was another drug-related dorm room incident in which he set off a fire alarm in his dorm — take a guess which leafy, green drug might’ve been involved.
Through it all, Jackson has been kept on the team. In December, between the dorm room incident and the Music City Bowl, Jackson went back to his home state of Louisiana for personal reasons. UT coach Derek Dooley said at the time that Jackson was not being disciplined and indeed he did start in the Vols’ bowl game when he returned.
And now Jackson has withdrawn from the University of Tennessee. That news broke in Knoxville last night with Dooley once again saying that this move is about Jackson, not discipline.
“Janzen continues to battle personal issues of which our program is always going to be very supportive of,” Dooley said. “His decision to withdraw and his issues are not disciplinary by nature. His withdrawal from school has nothing to do with disciplinary reasons on the football team and everything to do with a continuing battle of deep personal issues, of which we’re very supportive of.”
“His leaving for bowl practice was not a punishment, and as long as he continues to manage his personal issues and football and school, he’s going to be welcomed back in the program,” Dooley added. “He’s clearly reached a point where the personal issues have become much greater than his ability to manage workouts and school. Until he gets a little clarity on those issues, we’re going to support him.”
At MrSEC.com, we’re all for supporting players. We believe in second chances because a few of us around here — like the guy at the keyboard now — has gotten them.
But we also can’t help but wonder if Jackson’s status as UT’s only All-SEC performer in 2010 might have something to do with his ability to leave the team and now leave school with no reduction in his playing time. I think it’s safe to say a walk-on or an unproductive, third-string lineman might not get the same treatment.
If/when Jackson returns — after this semester — he’ll need to get a one-time only “missed-semester” waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to compete in the fall. He will also have to be cleared by UT’s student judiciary committee for the dorm room incident in December. Get through all that and it sounds like he’s in the clear. Because Dooley is standing by his man no matter what.
Jackson’s continuing issues might be part of the reason the Vols signed five defensive backs last Wednesday.
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