Troubled junior defensive back Janzen Jackson has enrolled at McNeese State, the school announced Friday after he was dismissed from the University of Tennessee’s football team Wednesday.
Jackson, who played at Barbe and Carencro and who was once an LSU commitment, withdrew from UT in February, citing personal problems, and re-enrolled last month.
McNeese coach Matt Viator said Jackson, a preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection, will practice with the team Sunday but will not be available for the season opener against Kansas on Sept. 3.
Viator said he was giving Jackson a second chance because, “I think the fact that not only myself but really, the majority of our coaching staff, has a history with Janzen and his Dad (former Cowboys player and assistant coach Lance Guidry). We watched him grow up and have seen some of the really good qualities that he has.
“Obviously, he’s made some mistakes. He has an opportunity now to come home and get a second chance. We decided to give him that opportunity.”
Jackson started 22 games the past two seasons. He had six interceptions and 106 tackles.
In a statement, Jackson said, “I would like to thank McNeese for giving me the opportunity to come back home and continue my education and football career. I would also like to apologize to my family, friends and the University of Tennessee for the mistakes I have made. I realize how fortunate I am to get a second chance and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
Viator said Jackson could possibly play in the home opener against Sioux Falls on Sept. 17 but that it will depend on his progress, on his learning the team’s system and him getting off to the right start.
“I’m hoping that it makes all the difference for Janzen,” Viator added. “There’s no question that we’re trying to help the young man. I think that he is sincere in wanting a second chance. Not only that but I think that he’s sincere in wanting to be a part of this program.
“I had to be sure that he was interested in his education, that he wanted to get a degree as well as play football. He assured me he was and that was one of the reasons he wanted to come back here. He’s also a very good player, obviously, and he will be able to help us in that aspect.”
MOUNTAINEERS, COWBOYS CHANGE GAME DATE: McNeese State Athletic Director Tommy McClelland said the Cowboys’ scheduled 2014 home game with Appalachian State is still on. The schools were scheduled to open the season with one another, but Appalachian State announced Thursday it will instead open that season with a game at Michigan. Michigan Stadium is the site of the Mountaineers’ most famous win in 2007.
The new game date will either be Sept. 20 or Sept. 27.
McNeese is scheduled to visit Appalachian State in 2015.
COLONELS TO OPEN 2012 AT OREGON STATE: Nicholls State Athletic Director Rob Bernardi announced Friday the Colonels will open the 2012 season at Oregon State.
The game will be the first time the Colonels will play a Pac-12 opponent.
“Part of what I want to do here at Nicholls is give our student-athletes a great experience,” Nicholls State coach Charlie Stubbs said. “I had the pleasure of coaching at Oregon State for six years. This is now a wonderful opportunity for our student-athletes to compete against a Pac-12 school and see the beautiful Pacific Northwest.”
The Colonels have three FBS foes on their 2012 schedule:Oregon State, Tulsa and South Alabama.
“As we’re building our program, we need to play in these types of games,” Stubbs said.
DEMONS CHOOSE CAPTAINS: In Natchitoches, senior tight end Justin Aldredge, junior defensive end Ricky Issac and senior deep snapper David Larsen will be game captains when Northwestern State opens its season at 6 p.m. Thursday against Delta State.