Janzen Jackson enrolls at McNeese State

Less than a week after he was dismissed from Tennessee, Janzen Jackson is back home and playing football again.

Jackson, the standout safety whose off-the-field issues overshadowed a promising career with the Vols, has enrolled at McNeese State, a Football Championship Subdivision school in his hometown of Lake Charles, La., the school announced late Friday.

In a statement, Jackson expressed gratitude to McNeese State for allowing him to continue his football career along with forgiveness for how his time at UT came to an end.

"I would like to thank McNeese for giving me the opportunity to come back home and continue my education and football career," Jackson said. "I would also like to apologize to my family, friends and the University of Tennessee for the mistakes I have made.

"I realize how fortunate I am to get a second chance and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead."

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley dismissed Jackson on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons.

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it confirmed to the News Sentinel that Jackson dealt with substance abuse problems during his time with the Vols. That appeared to have been a factor when he withdrew from UT in February before ultimately returning in July.

It had nothing to do with what Jackson could do on the field, as he played in 23 games, racked up 106 tackles and six interceptions while serving as the "eraser" on the back end of UT's defense.

McNeese State coach Matt Viator said he consulted with Jackson to "be sure that he was interested in his education." Viator said his close ties to Jackson's dad, Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Lance Guidry, factored into his decision to give Jackson yet another chance.

"He assured me he was and that was one of the reasons he wanted to come back here," Viator said in the university's statement. "He's also a very good player, obviously, and he will be able to help us in that aspect.

"I'm hoping that it makes all the difference for Janzen. There's no question that we're trying to help the young man. I think that he is sincere in wanting a second chance. Not only that but I think that he's sincere in wanting to be a part of this program."

Depending on how quickly he picks up the Cowboys' defensive schemes, Jackson could be ready for the team's home opener Sept. 17, Viator said.

"We watched him grow up and have seen some of the really good qualities that he has," Viator said. "Obviously he's made some mistakes. He has an opportunity now to come home and get a second chance. We decided to give him that opportunity."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 70

Ironcity writes:

I think Janzen has always been sincere in trying to kick the habit but I just don't know if he has what it takes at this time in his life. I wish him well and hope he turns his life around

FWBVol writes:

Having the support system of his mom, other family members and high school coaches could be a real plus for JJ returning to his hometown to play college ball. But if his personal problems started while he was in high school he might be returning to some negative peer influence as well.

I wish Jackson the best and hope he can get his life straighted out and be sucessful on and off the football field.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say the Disney writers are really pulling for this guy right now. lol. Witch Doctor say best wishes and good luck.
Bones never lie.

tnaseevol writes:

Second chance????

My arse, he's had more than two chances.

And he's had over a year to get his act together.

So long, loser......you've had your chances, and going back to the hometown will only enable you more. That's where the problem started!

jman33163 writes:

I wish Janzen success in getting on the right path and in becoming a proffessional football player. Hope you figure it out kid.

Its game week boys!!!!! Go Big Orange!!!!

PUL4VOLS writes:

Sad that he has gone through all that he has and there is no guarantee he will complete his time in college and go on to the NFL. We can hope he gets it together. I am unconvinced that will happen. But McNeese will have a good d-player if he stays clean.

gwills228#231210 writes:

there is no way he can battle addiction and football at the same time! addiction will when every time. if people really want to help him,they will advise him to at least take a year off from football and everything else and concentrate on his sobriety. but... HE has to want it first!

thevoice writes:

Gosh, that about does it for the Kiffin regime recruits. Anybody left??!! Couple of wide outs maybe?

volinlouisiana writes:

Hope he does well. We had to let him go, but I hope he gets it together and succeeds.

UTKin1992 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to Whatthehellsgoingonoutthere:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No but Tyler Bray does

BigBadVol writes:

Good luck JJ, but I fear you will screw up again.

aidensgrandpa#442215 writes:

in response to tnaseevol:

Second chance????

My arse, he's had more than two chances.

And he's had over a year to get his act together.

So long, loser......you've had your chances, and going back to the hometown will only enable you more. That's where the problem started!

Tnasevol: I think you are being overly critical. I have had two relatives addicted and watched them struggle with it for many years. One of the nephews ended up taking his own life because he could not kick the habit. A tragedy all the way around. He was a good kid too. No crime, honest, hard worker. All the traits we see in good people. He just could not handle it. The other boy is now in prison. He could not handle it. I do wonder tho, if Jackson has not been coddled so long and that he has not suffered enough to really want to kick the habit. I hope so. I pray for him and hope he can change but have grave doubts that he will. Grandpa

TKO writes:

He's where he needs to be.

RoadTrip writes:

How 'bout dem Cowboys!!!

Good luck JJ. You can still get to the league from there if you clean up your act.

Joboo642 writes:

Another case of a young man with a multi-million dollar future that can't stay away from his demons. What a total shame. Just changing schools want change the man. He needs divine help or he is done. You just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

rdrgtr writes:

If you cannot be motivated enough to excel at UT, how can you be motivated to excel at Mcneese St? It's like dumping the homecoming queen for the short fat chick nobody wants to dance with...

Ironcity writes:

in response to Joboo642:

Another case of a young man with a multi-million dollar future that can't stay away from his demons. What a total shame. Just changing schools want change the man. He needs divine help or he is done. You just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Reggie Cobb was one that was able to succeed after getting kicked off for drugs. It can happen thought not very often.

rabidvol1998 writes:

Good luck young man. Volunteers wish you the best.

volnutone writes:

HOW MANY CHANCES ARE PEOPLE GOING TO GIVE THIS KID? ALL THIS KID HAD TO DO WAS STAY CLEAN 6 MONTHS AND HE IS MAKING THE BIG MONEY!!

Down_The_Field writes:

all's well that ends well.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I think Janzen has always been sincere in trying to kick the habit but I just don't know if he has what it takes at this time in his life. I wish him well and hope he turns his life around

Not so fast. JJ is about as sincere as Jesse is about preaching.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to rdrgtr:

If you cannot be motivated enough to excel at UT, how can you be motivated to excel at Mcneese St? It's like dumping the homecoming queen for the short fat chick nobody wants to dance with...

The short fat chick sometimes turns out to be the better of the two.Looks don't mean much when your eyes are closed.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

How 'bout dem Cowboys!!!

Good luck JJ. You can still get to the league from there if you clean up your act.

If he is good enough,he will make it to the pros.They will take anybody any time any where regardless. More jail birds in the pros than any other profession except maybe drugs.This is in all levels including College.There is no shame when it comes to sports and money.

whiskeyman writes:

I live in Lake Charles and watched him grow up in sports at Barbe High School. He is a big plum for McNeese which has a difficult time recruiting quality athletes. Over here the discipline is lax and there's too many outlets for him to get drugs. He was known in H.S to be a user. McNeese didn't hesitate to grab him (and so the wheel turns). This is not the last unfortunate thing you will here about him here. As a U.T Alum (class of '74) I was proud to see that we were able to sign him out of H.S but still there has always been that nagging thought that just wouldn't go away. So, here we are!

423tiger18 writes:

Wish he could have finished his career as a Vol...the ball was in his hands and he fumbled on the one....

nocleats writes:

Doesnt McNeese State do drug testing?

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Good luck, young man.

Vol43 writes:

in response to whiskeyman:

I live in Lake Charles and watched him grow up in sports at Barbe High School. He is a big plum for McNeese which has a difficult time recruiting quality athletes. Over here the discipline is lax and there's too many outlets for him to get drugs. He was known in H.S to be a user. McNeese didn't hesitate to grab him (and so the wheel turns). This is not the last unfortunate thing you will here about him here. As a U.T Alum (class of '74) I was proud to see that we were able to sign him out of H.S but still there has always been that nagging thought that just wouldn't go away. So, here we are!

Whiskeyman, I married a girl from Lake Charles back in 74. We're still together. We're in love. More about that later. Can you believe it? This 5 star out of Barbe (I have driven by this school many times) ends up at McNeese State? Next time you go to Darrells, tell Big D that Ray from Nashville says 'Hi'. It might get you a free beer or he may throw you out. GO VOLS!

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

you could post something useful, that would be headlines , worthless

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to volnutone:

HOW MANY CHANCES ARE PEOPLE GOING TO GIVE THIS KID? ALL THIS KID HAD TO DO WAS STAY CLEAN 6 MONTHS AND HE IS MAKING THE BIG MONEY!!

CAPS LOCK key is located below the TAB key and above the SHIFT key on your keyboard. Press it 1 time and never touch it again. Thanks.

iowa_vol writes:

This won't be the end of "JJ & The Weed". Back home, kicking it with his boyz, hitting the chronic. Too bad and best wishes. I hope that you can straighten it out. It was fun to watch you play. Too bad that you pissed it all away.

sm1 writes:

in response to rdrgtr:

If you cannot be motivated enough to excel at UT, how can you be motivated to excel at Mcneese St? It's like dumping the homecoming queen for the short fat chick nobody wants to dance with...

Didn't James Banks turn things around off the field after transferring to Carson Newman? I know he always excelled on the field, bothat UT and C-N.

smyrnavol writes:

This kid has no clue. I have done my share of partying, and I can tell you getting addicted to weed just does not happen. You just want to. He is going somewhere that sees his talent that just may turn them around, and they will look the other way. Apparently his family is too. This kid only has nfl $ signs in his head, and cares nothing about academics. GO VOLS! less than a week!!!!

orangehippi writes:

Good luck,keep off the drugs and keep in the books and on the field,you,ll do great after you graduate.

Kelly8 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Having the support system of his mom, other family members and high school coaches could be a real plus for JJ returning to his hometown to play college ball. But if his personal problems started while he was in high school he might be returning to some negative peer influence as well.

I wish Jackson the best and hope he can get his life straighted out and be sucessful on and off the football field.

There are thousands of UT students who don't have hand-holding "Vol for Life" programs to make sure they don't commit felonies, or the Thornton Center to write their papers. Yet somehow these students manage to stay out of jail and graduate, most without being within shouting distance of a "support system" such as family and HS teachers.

I have a feeling that his "support system" is the same system that failed him in that he physiologically can't stop smoking pot, even if it could potentially cost him a decent education and millions of dollars.

These guys get benefits above and beyond what any run-of-the-mill student can dream of, and I have ZERO sympathy for those that can't act right on their fourth or fifth chance.

Good riddance, JJ.

HOSSFLY writes:

in response to tnaseevol:

Second chance????

My arse, he's had more than two chances.

And he's had over a year to get his act together.

So long, loser......you've had your chances, and going back to the hometown will only enable you more. That's where the problem started!

i agree...........especially about the enabling atmoshere of a small hometown. and he knew how much this tennessee team needed him (or his talents on the field)

cloudodust writes:

We know this isn't a rariety amongst college athletes here or elsewhere but thankfully it isn't epidemic. I join the rest in wishing JJ the best...

taylorsvolfan writes:

Get off the dope !!!

NOthgif writes:

2nd chance? How about 4th and 5th chances? This kid just don't get it. That apology has more holes in it than a honeycomb. You guys are now ready to play football because your weakest link is gone. Aren't you excited? It's go time! Fight ON!

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say the Disney writers are really pulling for this guy right now. lol. Witch Doctor say best wishes and good luck.
Bones never lie.

Snicker....

Fast forward to July, 2012 and this sports headline:

Coach Kiffin excited about newest Juco addition to 2012 USC Defense...

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to nocleats:

Doesnt McNeese State do drug testing?

They probably test like some of the high schools in southern Illinois.

Q: "Are you currently using drugs?" A: "No."

Pass

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to keviningeorgia:

Snicker....

Fast forward to July, 2012 and this sports headline:

Coach Kiffin excited about newest Juco addition to 2012 USC Defense...

Witch Doctor sneak and peak into future......
"Jeff Fisher and Trojans look forward to a new beginning". Witch Doctor on record as Jeff the coach in waiting. hehe
Bones never lie.

maciste54 writes:

in response to smyrnavol:

This kid has no clue. I have done my share of partying, and I can tell you getting addicted to weed just does not happen. You just want to. He is going somewhere that sees his talent that just may turn them around, and they will look the other way. Apparently his family is too. This kid only has nfl $ signs in his head, and cares nothing about academics. GO VOLS! less than a week!!!!

OK I've listened to this c-rap enough. Marijuana is not physically addictive. Psychologically maybe but not physically. This sounds more like a hard drug problem such as meth, coke, or prescription drugs [more likely]. If it was just pot all he had to do was just flat lay off for a few months and he'd be gold. It wouldn't be all that hard unless he's a vegetable between the ears. I guess we want know until he's a statistic , in prison or kicks it and comes out in public. Guarantee you it's more than weed.

VolGrad writes:

in response to BolivarBob:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen to all of the above.

ClearVol writes:

While I wish JJ luck (unless he somehow ends up at USC) and appreciate his nice apology to the U of T, I would really like to see these guys now move on and write about players who are still on the team and getting ready for one of the most pivital seasons in our history..

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Turncoat,

You are not a reporter, that is why no one listens to you. You were not called horrible names for supposedly telling the truth, you are called horrible names becasue you are a turncoat and the majority of your posts are ingorant at best. Anyone who would turn their back on a Team they used to root for and contiuosly degrade the new coach invites all the insults.

Good luck to JJ and I hope he gets his life in Order. Dooley tried to save this kid, maybe being closer to home will help.

NOthgif writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

NOthgif writes:

in response to SpongeBobOrangePantz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Call me crazy, but I checked the Bret Maverick sports betting advice on youtube. It pulled up some goofy looking bastage with Tennessee Titans gear on the wall, a Colt hat (Peyton fan), and a UT Vol lamp on the nightstand. LOL. Is it me or is CSS aka VandyGrad a secret, closet, disgruntled Vol fan? Hmmm...Looks like that cat has been let out of the bag. LOL Fight ON!

keviningeorgia writes:

in response to NOthgif:

Call me crazy, but I checked the Bret Maverick sports betting advice on youtube. It pulled up some goofy looking bastage with Tennessee Titans gear on the wall, a Colt hat (Peyton fan), and a UT Vol lamp on the nightstand. LOL. Is it me or is CSS aka VandyGrad a secret, closet, disgruntled Vol fan? Hmmm...Looks like that cat has been let out of the bag. LOL Fight ON!

Yeah, and how about those stats he quotes? Looks like he may have researched a press guide for all of say, 2 minutes for those nuggets.

He only charges $150 for 7 days of picks! Tell me quick, where do I send my money!

Really guys, if you want to buy pick advice, stick with a copy of Leonard's Losers. It's free (or nearly free), I know it's better researched and it's a damn site more entertaining...

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