KNOXVILLE - Coach Derek Dooley on Monday confirmed the news that started to leak around the University of Tennessee campus last week, that junior college defensive tackle signee John Brown will not play this season for the Volunteers.
Brown, a former five-star signee for the Florida Gators, enrolled at UT this summer in hopes of gaining Southeastern Conference eligibility. He came up short in the classroom, though, and no longer is enrolled for UT's fall semester.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Brown, rated the nation's No. 33 junior college prospect last season by Scout.com, would have contended for a starting position in the Vols' thin defensive tackle corps. Junior Rae Sykes and sophomore Steven Fowlkes remain the most likely candidates to start alongside sophomore Montori Hughes.
Sophomore Marlon Walls entered camp as a starter but was recently lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
Dooley also said Monday that Atlanta-area high school signee Marcques Dixon failed to qualify academically and won't enroll at UT this semester. The 5-10, 195-pound Dixon was signed in February as a defensive back and possible return specialist.
"It wasn't a big surprise to us," Dooley said. "We knew (Brown and Dixon) were high-risk. They're weighing their options. I don't know where they're going to go. They're kind of seeing what's out there for them."
The Vols still await word on the academic fates of signees Eddrick Loften, a defensive back from Texas, and Martaze Jackson, a linebacker from Alabama.
UT sophomore safety Janzen Jackson has asked coaches to put him back on the kickoff coverage team this season. Jackson starred on that unit early last season, delivering several huge hits as a wedge-buster before coaches opted to let him focus on defense.
"I love it when we flip the coin and we go on and kick off," Jackson said. "That's my favorite thing to do, is be the first one down the field, the first one to make contact in the game. That's my motive."
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