KNOXVILLE -- Two of the three Tennessee freshman football players arrested last week have been dismissed from the program, and the third is awaiting word on his fate.
A statement released Monday from coach Lane Kiffin confirmed that he had dismissed wide receiver and kick returner Nu'Keese Richardson and cornerback Mike Edwards.
No decision has been made regarding first-team safety Janzen Jackson, the other Volunteer arrested in connection with an attempted armed robbery near campus early Thursday morning.
"After extensive and thorough research of the situation over the last four days and considering various disciplinary options, I've decided it's in the best interest of our program to remove Nu'Keese and Mike," Kiffin's statement said. "As I've said many times before, we hold our student-athletes to an extremely high standard on and off the field. Our student-athletes must be responsible members of society, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We want a positive culture for our student-athletes that allows them to succeed in the classroom, on the field and in life after college.
"My hope is that these two young men will learn from their terrible decision. Clearly, their actions have no place in our program."
Jackson, whose role in Thursday's incident has been less clear, will not be allowed to participate in team activities as Kiffin "awaits additional information," according to the release.
A spokesperson for Mike Hamilton said the UT men's athletic director would delay formal comment until the situation is resolved, leaving questions regarding who made Monday's decision and why. The spokesperson did say the ruling was final for Richardson and Edwards.
UT officials said Edwards and Richardson were still enrolled as active students as of Monday afternoon. Whether the arrested trio can stay enrolled will be determined by a UT judiciary committee, spokesperson Tiffany Carpenter said.
There are no known formal guidelines with the staunchly private process, with the emphasis focusing on the facts of each individual case.
"As far as (the football program) is concerned, they're done," Carpenter said. "As far as everything else, that's out of our hands."
Two Knoxville Police Department officials said Monday there was no new information available to the public regarding the case's "ongoing investigation."
Initial documents on the incident, including the arrest warrants, can be found at www.timesfreepress.com.
UT hosts Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. Saturday and travels to Kentucky the following week for another 7 p.m. kickoff. Both games will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Kiffin said trainers hope to have freshman safety Darren Myles Jr. (hip, back) ready for Vanderbilt and senior nickel cornerback Marsalous Johnson (thumb) available at Kentucky. Both players, as well as Jackson and Edwards, left holes in the depth chart that were occasionally filled by walk-ons in Saturday's 42-17 loss at Ole Miss.
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