KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Three freshmen Tennessee football
players, including highly touted wide receiver recruit Nu'Keese
Richardson and starting safety Janzen Jackson, were charged with
attempted armed robbery Thursday morning.
Richardson, 18, and Jackson, 18, along with defensive back Mike
Edwards, 18, and companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, were charged
after a report of an armed robbery at a gas station in an area
known as "The Strip" at the edge of Tennessee's campus.
It was not clear if any of the suspects had hired a lawyer.
"At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances
surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and
Nu'Keese Richardson," athletic director Mike Hamilton said. "Any
decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until
the evaluations are complete."
The three victims told police they were sitting in their parked
vehicle about 2 a.m. Thursday at a gas station near Tennessee's
campus when two males dressed in hooded jackets, one brandishing a
handgun, approached and demanded, "Give us everything you've
"The victims stated that they all presented their wallets to
the suspects and showed them that they did not have money," the
police report said. "The victims stated that a third black male
then approached and told the other two black males, 'We've got to
The three suspects were seen leaving in a Toyota Prius, and
police pulled over a vehicle matching the description on
Tennessee's campus. Police spotted a pellet gun and hooded jackets
and later found drug paraphernalia and a bag of what appeared to be
Police say Montmarquet told them the drug paraphernalia and
substance belonged to her and she was charged with simple
The victims identified Richardson and Edwards as the men who
approached their vehicle.
Richardson, a highly touted recruit from Pahokee, Fla.,
originally committed to Florida but switched to Tennessee after
being recruited by coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin joked in a February
recruiting celebration that Florida coach Urban Meyer cheated in
trying to keep Richardson as a Gator, earning Kiffin a reprimand
from the Southeastern Conference.
Richardson had told Kiffin recently he was frustrated with his
lack of production but scored his first touchdown in a 56-28 win
over Memphis on Saturday. He's had six catches this season for 58
yards and served as a punt return specialist.
Edwards, a Cleveland, Ohio, native has played in eight games
this season and registered five tackles.
Jackson, a Lake Charles, La., native, has started seven games
this season, logging 33 tackles and a forced fumble. He was
suspended for the Memphis game, a week after he was named SEC
freshman of the week for a strong performance against South
Neither Jackson nor Kiffin would say why he was suspended, but
Jackson said after Wednesday afternoon's practice that losing
playing time would discourage him from making poor decisions off
the playing field.
"It kind of felt like being injured and watching your team play
... it kind of had the same feeling, but to know it was my fault,
so it kind of feels a little bit worse," Jackson said. "It's in
the past now, and I'm back to work."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)