Malik Jackson said he was not leaving Southern California because of NCAA penalties. The junior defensive end will transfer to Tennessee and be eligible to play for the Vols during the 2010 season.
"It wasn't that at all," Jackson told The Los Angeles Times. "I didn't really care about that. I was playing with my buddies, but Tennessee hit me up and they said they needed help at the end spot, that I could come in and help them.
"That sounded better than where I felt I was at with USC."
Jackson is expected to start summer classes Thursday at the school that USC coach Lane Kiffin bolted from in January after one season as coach.
Kiffin said in a statement Tuesday that Jackson was seeking more playing time. Kiffin also said the USC staff wished him the best of luck.
The NCAA is allowing Southern California juniors and seniors to transfer without sitting out a season in the wake of sanctions issued against the Trojans. Jackson, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound native of Van Nuys, Calif., has two years of eligibility left.
He appeared in all 13 of USC’s games last season, recording 18 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Full interview with Jackson later online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.