Janzen Jackson’s contributions to the Tennessee defense went beyond the stat sheet.
It took a coach’s eye to recognize that Tuesday, as Jackson was named second team All-SEC by the league’s 12 coaches. The sophomore safety, who has started 21 games in his UT career, was left off the Associated Press’ All-SEC team on Monday.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerback Prentiss Waggner, both of whom made the AP’s second team All-SEC, did not make the cut on the coaches’ team.
Hampered by a hamstring injury throughout training camp, Jackson, as he often admitted, had a rough start to the 2010 season, but quickly emerged as one of the Vols’ most reliable players in a secondary battered by injuries, inconsistency and inexperience. He came on strong at the midpoint of the season, playing his best game of the year in front of family and friends at LSU and rode that momentum on his way to a strong finish.
Coach Derek Dooley, who, like the rest of the SEC’s coaches, was unable to vote for his own players, occasionally referred to Jackson as the best player on UT’s defense.
“Janzen, we know, has phenomenal talent,” Dooley said before UT’s season-ending victory over Kentucky.
Jackson finished third on the team with 65 tackles, second with five pass breakups, tied for first with nine passes defended, second with four interceptions and first in interception return yards (114).
“He’s explosive,” secondary coach Terry Joseph said. “That’s one of the things about him and I think he has probably the best footwork of any corner or DB I’ve seen in a while.”
Jackson’s selection marks the fourth consecutive season in which a Tennessee defensive back has earned a spot on the All-SEC coaches’ team.
This is the first year in the coaches all-SEC teams’ 26-year existence that UT has not had a player on the first team. The Vols also failed to land a player on the AP’s first team for the first time since 1962.
On Thursday, the SEC will announce its all-freshman team, which likely will be chock full of Vols.