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Former All-America recruit, CFL safety, charged with murder

Janzen Jackson was once a very promising prospect, playing alongside Eric Berry with the Vols. (Joe Robbins/Getty) Janzen Jackson was once a very promising prospect, playing alongside Eric Berry with the Vols. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

Janzen Jackson, a former five-star recruit by Rivals who played safety at the University of Tennessee, has been charged with the murder of his mother's boyfriend, according to the Los Angeles Register.

Jackson, who briefly signed as a free agent with the NFL’s New York Giants in 2012, has been jailed since September in the death of [Frank] Herrera, his mother’s longtime boyfriend. Prosecutors say he strangled the 43-year-old Herrera on Sept. 11 and left his body to decompose in the back of a car for three days. Jackson entered a plea of not guilty Friday.
Jackson was charged with armed robbery as a freshman in Knoxville, but the charges were later dropped. Just weeks before the start of his junior season, he was dismissed from the team. Though the team gave no reason for his dismissal, the Knoxville News Sentinel cited anonymous sources who said Jackson struggled with substance abuse. Jackson finished up his college career at FCS-level McNeese State, and signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He was cut during training camp and later signed with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, recording eight tackles last season.

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