After being away from Tennessee for the better part of five months due to unspecified personal reasons, Janzen Jackson returned to both school and the football program in early July, which prompted head coach Derek Dooley to state that he is “cautiously optimistic that he’s going to stay the track that he’s been on.”
Unfortunately, it appears that train has permanently derailed.
In a statement released by the university Wednesday morning, Dooley announced that the defensive back has been dismissed from the Volunteers. No specifics behind the dismissal were given, although Dooley referred to “a player’s actions” in his statement addressing the abrupt development.
“Our program has devoted a tremendous amount of energy, resources, support, and care in an effort to help Janzen manage his personal challenges,” said Dooley. “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.
“Although I’m disappointed with this outcome, we will never compromise the long-term organizational values and goals we maintain here at Tennessee.”
As it pertains to the on-the-field situation, the loss of Jackson is a huge blow to the Vols’ defense. Jackson is arguably UT’s best defensive player — hell, he might be the most talented on either side of the ball — and, while it could be argued that the coaching staff never truly figured Jackson into their plans for 2011 based on his offseason, his presence clearly would’ve made the Vols exponentially better on that side of the ball. Now that he’s officially gone, the Vols are officially worse-off in the talent department despite having quality players in the secondary.
Speaking of which, it’s likely Prentiss Waggner will replace Jackson in the starting lineup.
Jackson had started 22 games his first two seasons in Knoxville, and was named second-team All-SEC following the 2010 season.