published Friday, November 13th, 2009

Vols undecided on future of three arrested players


by Wes Rucker
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    Marie Montmarquet, 22, charged with marijuana possession and other charges when police stopped her 2010 Toyota Prius. Also in the car were three University of Tennessee football players who were charged with attempted armed robbery.

KNOXVILLE — Lane Kiffin’s frequent reminders that his University of Tennessee football players hadn’t run afoul of the law stopped early Thursday morning.

By early Thursday night, though, Mr. Kiffin said he didn’t have enough information to rule on the football futures of freshmen Janzen Jackson, Nu’Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards.

The three UT freshmen were arrested shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday in connection with an armed robbery near campus.

“We’re gathering all the information in and until then we really have nothing for you,” Mr. Kiffin said after Thursday night’s practice. “The only thing I can give is that Janzen has been released, and we’ll deal with the three situations coming up. But until we have all the information, I can’t comment any further on it.

“We don’t know exactly what happened. Unfortunately there was an incident. We made it 11 months and 11 days without incidents. We’ll deal with the information as it comes in.”

Mr. Jackson, a star freshman safety, was initially asked to post bail before being released in the later afternoon on his own recognizance. The player’s lawyer, Don Bosch, said his client “vehemently asserts his innocence.”

“And we hope that this will become apparent in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Mr. Bosch added.

Mr. Edwards was released from the Knox County Detention Center early Thursday evening on $19,500 bond, but officials said Mr. Richardson was still being held.

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Knoxville Police Department warrants indicated that Mr. Richardson and Mr. Edwards were identified as those who committed the robbery at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot service station.

According to eyewitness reports, either Mr. Edwards or Mr. Richardson opened the victims’ driver-side door while brandishing the semi-automatic pellet gun and said, “Give me everything you have.” The other player then reportedly approached the front passenger door and said, “Give us everything you’ve got.”

Mr. Jackson’s role in the matter wasn’t as clear, though he reportedly approached his teammates at some point and told them, “We’ve got to go.” His whereabouts before that moment haven’t been disclosed.

A fourth suspect — identified as Marie Montmarquet, reportedly the driver of the suspects’ vehicle — was also arrested. She was charged in the robbery and with marijuana possession after a “marijuana grinder” and a green, leafy substance was found in the car’s glove compartment, according to KPD documents.

Documents stated the felony stop and subsequent search of Ms. Montmarquet’s car, a 2010 Toyota Prius, also revealed a carbon dioxide-powered pellet gun and black hooded sweatshirts believed to be used in the incident.

Mr. Jackson, from Lake Charles, La., started every game this season at free safety until missing Saturday’s win over Memphis for what coaches called “administrative” reasons. He was named Southeastern Conference freshman of the week after UT’s previous game — a win over South Carolina — and resumed practicing with the starters in preparation for Saturday’s game at Ole Miss.

Mr. Jackson didn’t disclose the reason for his suspension Wednesday night, but he said he and coaches had put the incident behind them and were happy to move forward.

“It’s in the past now, and I’m back to work,” Mr. Jackson said approximately six hours before Thursday’s incident. “It was a problem that happened in the past, so we had already gotten past it and just had to hit this bump in the road.”

Mr. Richardson, from Pahokee, Fla., has returned punts and played sporadically as a wide receiver. He had his best game against Memphis, catching three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Mr. Richardson missed practice Nov. 1 — one day after the team defeated South Carolina — to deal with what he and coaches called “personal issues.” He returned to the team’s next practice, saying he and Mr. Kiffin had resolved the situation. The player said homesickness was a reason for his issues.

Mr. Edwards, from Cleveland, Ohio, was a special teams member and reserve cornerback pegged by coaches as a future impact player.

Mr. Kiffin has consistently praised the off-field discipline he and his assistants have instilled in their program. The coach recently claimed that the team’s GPA was the highest it’s been in at least five years.

“There’s no disappointment,” Mr. Kiffin said. “There’s no nothing right now, because I don’t have all the information in. Once we get all the information in, we’ll make a decision.

“I’m not going to get into all that stuff, guys. That’s it. We’re going to practice. Practice today was really good. I thought the guys performed really well. We’re really focused, and we’ve got to get ready for a big-time game.”

Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.

about Wes Rucker...

Twitter - @wesrucker Facebook - /tfpvolsbeat

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LaughingBoy said...

Maybe Little Wayne can rap about these thugs. All publicity is good publicity,right?

November 13, 2009 at 1:07 a.m.
cyp08 said...

This is sad. Everyone needs to keep cracks to themselves. I'm not even a Vols fan, but this could happen at any university. And then how would you feel. I think is an embarassment for the school. Those kids need help, not humiliation.

November 13, 2009 at 5:25 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

The LITTLE WAYNE comment is right on the money. As far as them needing help, no it is JAIL that they need. Maybe its because they didn't have RELIGIUOS BANNERS to run through at their high schools that has caused this problem. I am quite sure they received financial considerations to attend the great UT. If someone thinks they need help, then GO HELP THEM!!! Just do it with your money. How about paying their upcoming legal bill or the bond for the FAB 4. There would be a philanthropic gesture. Mr. Kiffen has proven himself time & time again to make poor choices. Perhaps this is the reason some players are off the hook. When will the jock administrations at the high school & college level stop adoring players to the entire school and see all of them as what they are, just another student. The best pole vaulter does not receive star status nor does the best trumpet player in band. Stop star power and the problem may go away. Yes college sports makes a lot of money for a college. Is that all that matters to us as a society. Perhaps we can find something else to watch on Saturday afternoon in the fall or TAKE A HIKE?"I'm just sayin"

November 13, 2009 at 6:32 a.m.
najones75 said...

It's Lil, not Little. That would be using proper English, which isn't going to happen.

November 13, 2009 at 7:16 a.m.
jomo11 said...

These players are from Lousiana, Ohio and Florida...there is a reason that LSU, Ohio State and Florida DIDN'T sign these guys.......this what you get when you are so hell bent on recruiting players just because they have 4 stars by their names, especially when they come from so far away

November 13, 2009 at 11:17 a.m.
hcirehttae said...

Thugs!

November 13, 2009 at 12:11 p.m.
Axle said...

It is just more of the same. Not just TN, but colleges everywhere seem to be more interested in their sports then they do academics. Add insult to injury, the school pays for their education! Wasting scholarships on students who's only interest is furthering their sports career is a waste. Here is an idea, pay the kids to play and if they want an education they can get that for free AFTER they complete their athletic eligibility. Enough already!

November 13, 2009 at 12:50 p.m.
jaw822 said...

jomo11, Jackson was committed to LSU and decommitted to go to Tennessee so LSU did recruit him. Richardson was committed to Florida and decommitted to go to Tennessee so Florida recruited him. Edwards was committed to Ohio State and decommitted to go to Tennessee.

I am not a Tennessee fan at all. I honestly would like to see Kiffin fail because I cannot even tolerate them with him as coach. The problem Tennessee will have with their football program is that Kiffin likes to run his mouth so the kids that come from respectable fanilies are not going to play for him. There have already been a couple of instances where parents have told Kiffin that they don't want their kid to play for him. Kiffin is only going to get thugs into his program. There will be many more arrests to come during the Kiffin era in Knoxville. (Think FSU and Miami combined)

November 13, 2009 at 1:57 p.m.
una61 said...

When it comes to male college football and basketball players the term "student-athlete" is a true oxymoron or in this case oxyMORON(s)!

November 13, 2009 at 2:03 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

Una no it's not, tens of thousands get their degrees every year. Many waste their chances but nowhere near all of them do that. Kiffin likes that boasting, cocky attitude and has said he pulled publicity stunts and said some things he didn't really mean to get his program some national attention. These are the types you're going to get when you come across that way.

November 13, 2009 at 2:15 p.m.
dabigorange said...

So much for due-process....

Let's wait until all the information is in before putting these four people under the prison.

As for finding something else to do on Saturday, well, it's not going to happen anytime soon. Saturday football is an integral part of southern culture.

And as for star power for elite football players, yeah, it exists. I'm sorry for the top college trumpet player or pole vaulter, but until 100,000 people show up and are willing to pay 50 bucks a seat to see them, we'll all have to just deal with it.

November 13, 2009 at 2:19 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

At the very least they were out at 2:00 am. That alone should be a huge violation of team rules.

November 13, 2009 at 2:21 p.m.
EaTn said...

headline "Vols undecided on future of three arrested players".............I'm not sure the Vols will have a say in their future.

November 13, 2009 at 3:56 p.m.
rolando said...

Here's a thought... Since they will be reinstated and not prosecuted anyway, how about the Vols hold out for a piece of the action. Twenty percent of each transaction should do it nicely. Have those guys PAY instead of DRAW money for playing. The alternative could be prosecution and jail time. Sounds good to me...but then I am neither a user nor a sports fan so I am not affected.

Pot is well on its way to legalization, why not go whole hog and collect from the dealers to pay some bills/salaries? That way, everyone is happy. The cartels do it, why not academe? Illegal? So is dog fighting.

Yeah, right.

November 13, 2009 at 9:23 p.m.
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