ATLANTA,GA-True freshman safety Janzen Jackson spoke to the media Sunday afternoon for the first time since armed robbery charges were dropped last month.
The young Volunteer went through a tough time following the incident that led to him missing the Ole Miss football game on November 14.
"Its been a process. Getting back to field, getting back to having fun and being back with my teammates," said Jackson. "I really enjoy being with them and it kind of hurt me to be away from them for so long."
Jackson said his teammates supported him through what was a very tough time in his football career.
"They were with me the whole time. They stayed with me and on my side," said Jackson.
The help of one player in particular made Jackson's time away from the team easier to cope with. Eric Berry often spent time with Jackson away from the football field to help him throughout his time away from the team.
"It helped a lot. When you are in a place where you don't have any family it helps to have someone like Eric to kind of pick you up when you fall," said Jackson.
Jackson said he has learned from his mistakes and has to continue to make the right decisions on and off the football field, not only for himself, but for others as well.
"I am just trying to be positive in every decision I make," said Jackson. "Trying to lead as an example because I got people that's watching me and little kids looking up to me, especially back home."
Jackson and other freshmen on the Tennessee football team have been vocal about their goals to be the best freshman class to come through the University of Tennessee. Jackson acknowledged that the loss of both Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards hinders their progress, but doesn't define their class.
"I think it hurt us a lot because we had two great players in them two, but I think we are still one of the best freshman classes," said Jackson. "I don't want to brag, but I think we are doing pretty well as a freshman class."
Jackson has played in nine games of the 2009 season, including eight starts. He has collected 35 tackles, second among the Volunteer freshmen. The free safety also earned SEC freshman of the week honors after tallying seven tackles, two pass breakups and a forced fumble against SEC east foe South Carolina.