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Update: Kiffin has little to say on Jackson, Richardson, Edwards arrests

10:54 PM, Nov 12, 2009   |    comments
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Video: Kiffin reacts to the arrrests of 3 of his players

  • Janzen Jackson's booking photo
  • Michael Edwards, Vols team photo
  • Michael Edwards' booking photo
  • Janzen Jackson, Vols team photo
  • Nu'Keese Richardson, Vols team photo
  • Nu'Keese Richardson's booking photo
  • Marie Montmarquet's booking photo
    
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  • The arrest warrants
  • At a media availability after practice Thursday night, Coach Lane Kiffin had little to say regarding the arrests of freshmen Nu'Keese Richardson, Janzen Jackson, and Mike Edwards.

    A prepared statement earlier in the day from Athletic Director Mike Hamilton basically said the university was looking into the incident and wouldn't have any comment until their evaluation was complete.

    "At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson," said UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete."

    Kiffin basically repeated that statement when asked about the incident, multiple times when asked multiple questions about it.

    He would not comment on whether Janzen Jackson or any of the others will be making the trip south to take on Ole Miss.

    Janzen Jackson, one of three freshman UT football players arrested early Thursday morning in connection with an armed robbery, has been released from jail on his own recognizance, according to his attorney.

    Since Jackson's release, co-defendant and teammate Mike Edwards has been released.

    Jackson is also saying he's innocent of the armed robbery in which he's accused.

    Attorney Don Bosch is representing Jackson and has given 10News a statement on the matter:

    This office represents Janzen Jackson. As of this afternoon his bond has been reduced from $15,000 to being released on his recognizance. Mr. Jackson vehemently asserts his innocence. And we hope that this will become apparent in the next 24 to 48 hours.

    Jackson is one of three University of Tennessee football players charged with an attempted armed robbery that occured at a Pilot on the Cumberland Avenue strip early Thursday morning.

    Nu'Keese Richardson, Janzen Jackson, and Mike Edwards were being held at the Knox County Detention Center; there's no word at this point whether Richardson or Edwards have been released.

    According to victim statements to police, three men were sitting in their car outside the Pilot at 2218 Cumberland Avenue.  They say a male in a hoodie approached and opened the driver's door, showed a black semi-automatic handgun and said, "Give me everything you have!"  A second male then approached and opened the passenger's side door and said, "Give us everything you've got!"  Then a third male told the other two they needed to leave.

    The victims, identified as Corey Zickefoose, Benjamin Everett and Corey Smith, all Maryville residents, called 911.   Police were then dispatched and a search started for the suspects including a reported female driver.

    Police then found a vehicle matching the description near Gibbs Hall on the UT campus.  The four suspects were then detained.

    A search of the car revealed marijuana paraphenalia, two black hoodies, and a CO2 powered black pellet gun.

    Police said the female driver, Marie Montmarquet, later stated the paraphenalia belonged to her.  She was charged with posession, in addition to attempted armed robbery.

    Montmarquet is a 22-year-old woman from Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

    The suspects were taken to the Pilot for identification where the victims identified Edwards and Richardson as the ones who asked for all the money.

    The three football players are all Lane Kiffin recruits.

    Read more

    November 1, Richardson was absent from practice.

    On November 3, Kiffin said "There is no situation with Nu'Keese," saying the freshman was back at practice after taking care of "personal issues." Kiffin chalked it up to freshman frustration with wanting to contribute on the field after having had great success in high school play.

    Recently, USA Today profiled the town of Pahokee, where Nu'Keese Richardson grew up. It's known for poverty and producing promising football players--Lane Kiffin caused controversy when he suggested that someone at the school would try to sabotage his recruitment of Richardson and that the area was so poor, there wasn't a working gas station within an hour's drive, and that no one had enough money for shirts or shoes. Read the report on USAToday.com.

    Kiffin's recruitment of Richardson also sparked accusations that Florida Coach Urban Meyer had violated SEC recruiting rules by calling Richardson at home after he'd committed to UT. Kiffin later apologized.

    Kiffin's recruitment of Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson prompted a lot of talk in the preseason--part of a larger pattern of casting talented freshmen recruits in starring roles.

    There were signs during the preseason that Jackson was being groomed as an heir to safety Eric Berry's throne.

    Jackson's recruitment to Tennessee made national news, when he signed with Tennessee after committing to LSU a year before.

    Jackson was suspended from playing against Memphis last weekend for violation of team rules. An interview with the Sentinel's Dave Hooker indicated Jackson had made the most of the discipline and was ready to get back on the right track. Kiffin refused to confirm that Jackson would be suspended before the game.

    As for Edwards, we've not previously heard any disciplinary problems for him at UT. He hasn't made many headlines in game play this season, but he was a standout in the Vols' final scrimmage of fall camp, being part of a three-way tie for most tackles.

    You can watch Kiffin's comments on the 2009 recruiting class, back in February, on wbir.com.

    As recently as Wednesday, Kiffin had praised his team for not having off-the-field problems during his tenure, according to ESPN.com's Chris Low.

    And on Tuesday, Kiffin mentioned keeping players out of trouble in justifying the Vols' coaching staff having the highest pay in NCAA football, saying that the university spends money to make money. Kiffin said, so long as the Vols successfully recruit, win games, graduate players, and keep players out of trouble, the salary issue will fade from attention.

    Read the arrest warrants on wbir.com (PDF).

    Editor's note: This story previously contained a typo that the gun recovered was a CO2 black powder gun instead of a black, CO2 powered gun. We regret any confusion.

    Editor's note pt II: Don Bosch is a regular panelist on WBIR political talk show Inside Tennessee, representing the left side of the spectrum. He also occasionally provides on-air legal analysis on cases with which he is not involved.

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