Published July 7, 2011 - 11:35am
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Yesterday, news broke that troubled Tennessee safety Janzen Jackson will be enrolled in summer classes in the second summer semester, and this is a much welcomed sight for all Vols fans. It was definitely some much needed good news for this program. Hopefully Jackson can step up and be a leader and stay out of trouble for one more year in Knoxville.
Jackson has been away from the football team and out of school since February for what head coach Derek Dooley described as “personal reasons”. He remained in Knoxville and continued to train off campus. Jackson has now been deemed a “full participant” when practice opens come August.
Make no mistake about it, with Jackson missing spring practices, Dooley will make him earn his way back into this starting lineup. But trust me; it will not take more than a week. Jackson is one of the most formidable safeties in the SEC, and the rest of the country for that matter. You can mention Jackson in the same breath as Mark Barron or Robert Lester.
Now, with the impending return of Jackson, Tennessee’s defense just got a whole lot better. This defensive secondary returns more experience and weapons than arguably anyone in the East.
Jackson is dynamic and can make the big hit and get the football in the air for an interception. He simply has a nose for the football. Jackson will step into his starting safety position immediately, likely opposite Brent Brewer.
At corner, Tennessee features All-SEC corner Prentiss Waggner and newcomer Byron Moore, a JUCO transfer formally at University of Southern California. Waggner earned his stripes last year at corner. Moore is a guy who can play either safety or corner.
True freshman Justin Coleman entered spring and will compete for playing time right away in this crowded secondary. He’s that good.
The defensive backfield doesn’t stop there, and there is a ton of depth.
Returners Art Evans, Eric Gordon, CJ Fleming and Marsalis Teague provide this secondary with a security blanket if the injury bug hits in any way. This is as deep of a secondary as there is in the SEC.
The return of All-SEC safety Janzen Jackson helps solidify this defensive unit, and the defensive back unit may very well be the strength of this football team.