KNOXVILLE — If he’s healthy, Janzen Jackson will start at one of the University of Tennessee’s two safety positions.
The other spot, though, is at least a three-man competition between sophomore Prentiss Waggner, sophomore Rod Wilks and freshman Brent Brewer, a former professional baseball player.
“Right now Prentiss Waggner is the first bandit, and he’s doing a good job,” Wilks said after Monday’s practice. “I’m learning from him and staying focused, because you never know. I could get my chance any time.”
Brewer, who signed to play football at Florida State in 2006 before spending four years in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization, has also gotten chances. And he’s impressed first-year Volunteers coach Derek Dooley.
“A lot of those baseball guys, you love them, because they’re so mature,” Dooley said. “They really have a nice comfort zone with coaches, I feel like. I think it’s the nature of that sport. And he’s obviously older. I think he’s going to be a steal for us. He’s a great athlete. He’s instinctive. The problem is he hasn’t played ball in five years, and that’s a long time.
“How soon (will he help)? I don’t know. But I’m glad we have him. He’s a good pickup.”
The Vols will have a “modified” scrimmage this afternoon, Dooley said. It won’t be open to the media.
“It’s really not a full-blown (scrimmage). It’s a little bit modified,” Dooley said. “I like to do this on about the seventh day, just to break the monotony. Let’s get out there and play some ball. But it’s not going to be one of those marathon deals. It’s just to get people lathered up, and let’s go tackle. Let’s let them play a little bit.
“Then it’s a good time to catch our break and evaluate where we are and where we need to go the next few days.”
Former Vols track star Evander Wells’ football career is over shortly after it began. The 5-foot-7 speedster tore his ACL on Sunday and won’t play this season — his only season of eligibility.
“That’s too bad,” Dooley said. “He was only out here for a few days, but he was fast. We might have had some fly sweeps and bubble screens for him.”
Other contacts for Wes Rucker are www.twitter.com/wesrucker and www.facebook.com/tfpvolsbeat.