Cross redshirt juniors James Banks and Greg Jones off the Vols roster of 85 scholarship football players. Banks was dismissed for “violation of team rules” according to issued by the university this afternoon. Jones, a defensive tackle, decided to withdraw from school for personal and academic reasons.
“I appreciate everyone that has gone out of their way to try to help these two young men,” Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said in the release. “That is the business we are in. I regret we could not get them to live up to the standards we set for our student-athletes.”
Banks, who led the Vols with 42 receptions for 621 yards as a sophomore after starting two games at quarterback as a true freshman, didn’t play this season after undergoing knee surgery on Sept. 3. The Indianapolis native was suspended twice earlier in the year and didn’t participate in spring practice. Tennessee coaches had hoped Banks, a former Parade High School All-American, might fill a spot in the secondary as a junior, before his third strike led to dismissal.
Jones, of Jonesboro, Ark., started five games in 2003 including the last four for the Vols. He recorded 33 tackles as a sophomore but decided to redshirt this season after suffering from the emotional trauma associated with a car crash that killed family members last November who were en route to see one of UT’s games.
Banks is the fourth of seven Parade All-Americans from the Class of 2002 that are no longer a part of the team. The others are Heath Benedict, Brandon Jeffries and Jonathan Mapu, who is in the middle of a two-year Mormon mission. The remaining Parade All-Americans from that class are Gerald Riggs Jr., James Wilhoit and Rob Smith.