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Tennessee freshmen arrested

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three freshmen Tennessee football players, including highly touted wide receiver recruit Nu’Keese Richardson and starting safety Janzen Jackson, were charged with attempted armed robbery Thursday morning.

Richardson, 18, and Jackson, 18, along with defensive back Mike Edwards, 18, and companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, were each charged with three counts of attempted armed robbery in connection with an incident at a gas station in an area known as “The Strip” at the edge of Tennessee’s campus.

Richardson was being held Thursday afternoon on a $19,500 bond. Edwards was released on a $19,500 bond and Jackson was released on his own recognizance.

“Mr. Jackson vehemently asserts his innocence, and we hope that this will become apparent in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Jackson’s attorney Don Bosch said in a statement. It was not immediately known if Richardson and Edwards had attorneys.

The three players are the first arrested during the tenure of first-year coach Lane Kiffin, who on Thursday said he would not make any comment on the situation until he knew more. Kiffin’s predecessor, Phillip Fulmer, was often criticized for being too lax on a number of his players who had discipline problems.