Montrell Jones Gets His Walking Papers

There's one less Jones for Tennessee fans to keep up with.<p> The disappointing college football career of Montrell Jones at Tennessee came to an anticlimactic conclusion Monday, following word he has been dismissed from the squad by UT coach Phillip Fulmer.

The decision to dismiss Jones comes on the heels of an April 7 suspension for violation of team rules. Jones was also suspended last fall before the Rutgers game on the same nebulous offense, which can cover everything from chronic tardiness to class one felonies.

Additionally, Jones was arrested in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., last summer on marijuana possession charges, which likely subjected him to periodic drug testing at UT, although there's no indication at this point that his latest suspension and subsequent dismissal were drug related. Certainly, the litany of problems Jones experienced at Tennessee may have simply reached a point of critical mass due to a variety of transgressions.

The former Kentucky Mr. Football enjoyed a stellar career at Louisville Male High School in which he caught 273 passes for 4,500 yards and 65 touchdowns. He was offered scholarships from many top programs, including Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, Florida and Tennessee. He originally committed to Kentucky in the fal of his senior season, but changed his mind and reopened the recruiting process.

Rated among the top 15 prospects at his position, Jones was expected to have an immediate impact on a team that lack proven depth at wide receiver. He played as a true freshman, but only caught six passes for 50 yards that season. He appeared to be Vol most likely to become the featured wideout when Kelley Washington was lost for the season in game six last fall, but never established himself among a novice field of contenders.

The former Kentucky Mr. Football caught 22 passes for 306 yards as a sophomore, but he didn't have a single touchdown in 22 games at Tennessee and his longest reception was only 26 yards. Not the type of numbers that were expected from a prospect regarded as a play maker when he arrived on campus two years ago and the highest rated wideout the Vols had signed since Marcus Nash in 1994.

Jones departure after two seasons parallels that of two other Louisville football prospects in the last decade, that left Tennessee after their second season. Defensive tackle Leland Taylor was at UT in 1993-1994 while linebacker Shawn Johnson was a Vol in 1996-97.

Montrell was one of four Vols on the roster with the last name of Jones. Tennessee has sophomore defensive tackle Greg Jones, freshman lineman Stephen Jones and senior Mark Jones who was moved to wide receiver from defensive back this spring, and became the breakthrough offensive player in the Orange and White game.

Ironically, if Tennessee fans were told before spring practice that Jones would become a go-to target at wide receiver, they would have concluded Montrell had finally raised the level of his play to approximate his promise.

Instead, he'll be remembered as a highly rated wide receiver who never caught on at Tennessee.


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