Tennessee's Lane Kiffin Dismisses Richardson, Edwards From Team

Bryan KellySenior Analyst INovember 16, 2009

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 31:  Head coach Lane Kiffen of the Tennessee Volunteers watches against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The decision is in: Lane Kiffin has kicked Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards off the Tennessee Volunteers .

The two players, along with defensive back Janzen Jackson, were arrested last week on suspicion of armed robbery for allegedly holding up customers outside a gas station with a pellet gun.

Kiffin initially declined to make any final judgment on the fate of the three freshmen, assuring the media that a decision would be made when all the information was in.

The Tennessee coach handed down indefinite suspensions of the three players following the arrest and forbade them from coming near practices or games. But the evidence against Richardson and Edwards was apparently profound enough to lead to their outright dismissal.

"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 said in a statement.

There was no word on whether Jackson would also be dismissed. Though his suspension has not been lifted, it is believed that Jackson only drove the vehicle the three men were using , while the dismissed players actually committed the attempted robbery.

Whether Jackson will take steps toward reinstatement is not yet known.

Richardson and Jackson were both highly-rated recruits. Nu'Keese was a four-star athlete out of Pahokee, Fla., who had originally committed to the Gators before switching his commitment after Kiffin's arrival.

Richardson's recruitment was subject to scrutiny when it became part of Kiffin's spat with Urban Meyer in the offeseason. Kiffin alleged that Meyer violated recruiting rules by calling and texting Nu'Keese while the player was on Tennessee's campus.

Richardson had a minor impact on Tennessee's offense and special teams, fielding kickoffs and catching eight passes for 100 yards and a touchdown on the year

Jackson was a five-star player and the No. 2 safety overall to Rivals.com, hailing from Louisiana. The freshman had played in limited duty, contributing 24 tackles, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble mostly in garbage time.

Edwards, a defensive back out of Cleveland, Ohio, was not highly ranked.