KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee's newest Vol--defensive end Malik Jackson--says he didn't leave Southern Cal because of the NCAA penalties levied against the Trojans.
"It wasn't that at all," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. "I didn't really care about that. I was playing with my buddies, but Tennessee hit me up and they said they needed help at the end spot, that I could come in and help them."
"That sounded better than where I felt I was at with USC," Jackson also told the newspaper.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin released a statement Tuesday saying Jackson was seeking more playing time.
As a sophomore, Jackson came off the bench and saw action in all 13 games. He was an often used back-up, playing primarily in pass rushing situations. For the season, he registered 3.5 sacks, 18 tackles, one forced fumble and two pass deflections.
He was expected to compete for a starting spot this fall for the Trojans.
The 6'5", 245 lbs. Jackson is a junior and will have two years of eligibility at Tennessee.
The NCAA recently placed the Trojans on probation, and the sanctions allow players who are juniors or seniors to transfer--without having to sit out a year.
Jackson is expected to enroll for the second session of summer school this week.
Tennessee officials can't comment on Jackson until he is enrolled in school.