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Coach under A.J. Johnson's skin with praise of Andrew Jackson


New Tennessee coach Butch Jones has no doubts about Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson making it to the NFL.

At least, that's what he's telling his players to motivate them.

According to, Jones was purposely needling Volunteers star linebacker A.J. Johnson at practice Tuesday by praising Jackson's abilities.

"(You'll) get to play on the same field as an NFL linebacker," Jones told Johnson, who led the entire Southeastern Conference in tackles last year with 138. Jones also joked that his son may want an autograph from Jackson.

"He's a great player," said UT center James Stone, an NFL prospect himself. "He's a talented guy. He's somebody you have to game-plan for."

Running back Raijon Neal was a little more reserved in his praise.

"Good player," Neal said. "Just a solid, good player, point blank, that's all."

If Jackson makes a few plays against Tennessee like this one he made against Kentucky last week, perhaps even Neal will have to give him more credit than that:

The Hilltoppers' star is ranked as the nation's No. 80 senior prospect by's Gil Brandt, and made good on a brash prediction of a win over the Wildcats last week. At 6-foot-1, 260 pounds, he's certainly got more than enough size for the NFL.

And whether he believes it or is just motivating with it, Butch Jones isn't shy about putting him in that category.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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