Malik Jackson didn't think much of the NCAA's decision last month to allow juniors and seniors transfer from Southern California without penalty.
USC lost scholarships, vacated wins and were banned from bowl game for two years by the NCAA for a lack of institutional control.
It wasn't a problem for Jackson.
The junior defensive end had decided he would stay at USC and finish out his two years of eligibility.
That's until he received a call from new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.
He asked Jackson to transfer to UT, which he agreed to do on Monday. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Jackson will be eligible to play this season.
"My first mindset was I wasn't going anywhere," Jackson said. "I got the call (from UT) and I just thought about it. I went to go check it out and kept thinking about it and decided to go."
Jackson's decision to leave didn't sit well with every staff member at USC.
New coach Lane Kiffin, who bolted from UT for USC in January, gave his blessing, according to Jackson.
Jackson said Kiffin told him to do what was best for him.
Jackson said he received a similar response from assistant head coach and former UT defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron, who coached UT's defensive line last season, wasn't as thrilled with Jackson's decision to transfer.
"Coach Orgeron probably had a little bit more to say," Jackson said. "He wasn't happy about it but that's OK."
Jackson said he believes Orgeron was unhappy because Jackson decided to leave for the same school Orgeron just left.
"He had a little bit to say about that but I'm not trying to get into it," Jackson said.
Jackson will try to work his way into UT's defensive end rotation this fall.
Jackson played in all 13 of USC's games last season as a reserve, recording 18 tackles with 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He was a sought-after recruit from Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, Calif.
He flew to Knoxville on Tuesday, planning to begin summer classes on Thursday.
Jackson, who took a one-day visit to UT before deciding to transfer, said he spoke to other players who made him feel welcome in Knoxville.
"They seemed pretty excited about what's going on down there," Jackson said. "They just need a few things to change and they said they'll be ready and rolling. I'm pretty excited to get on the field with those guys."
Jackson is the first real defection from USC since the Trojans received their sanctions.
He might not be the last.
Jackson said he thinks more players will leave USC, although he declined to name anyone specifically.
UT has apparently asked some of them to join Jackson in Knoxville.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that a few weeks ago UT faxed a list of every junior and senior on the USC roster to the Trojans' compliance office to alert them of their recruiting intentions.
Jackson said he would be willing to help UT recruit his former teammates if anyone is willing to listen.
"If Tennessee needed them I'd kind of talk to them because it'd be nice to have an SC friend over where you are so you're not all alone," he said.
UT fans would certainly appreciate that.
Jackson was surprised to hear he's already a favorite among fans because of his decision to leave USC for UT.
"That's funny," he said. "I mean hey, that's cool. Whatever I can take."
Josh Ward is a freelance contributor.