First of all, Jabo Lee is an awesome name for a football recruit. Second of all, don't mess with Jabo Lee. Or at least don't mess with Jabo Lee's high school coach.
University of Tennessee football coach Butch Jones didn't honor his commitment to the three-star running back, and Dillon (S.C.) High coach Jackie Hayes is less than pleased about the whole situation.
“There wouldn’t be no use for [Tennessee recruiters] to come back to Dillon,’’ Hayes, a three-time state championship winning coach whose current sophomore quarterback Avery McCall already holds an offer from the Volunteers, told GoVolsXtra.com.
Heavily recruited by Vols running back coach Jay Graham late in the process, Lee changed his commitment from East Carolina to Tennessee two days prior to February's national signing day, according to the report. And that's where UT's good will ended.
Graham soon left for Florida State, UT told Lee he would be redshirting after discovering a torn ACL in May and then the Vols dropped him entirely just last week, the report said.
For the record, Lee himself doesn't seem all that bent out of shape about it.
"Well Sorry Vol fans I won't be in the orange," he posted on his Twitter account. "God works in mysterious ways. It happen for a reason. Now I have to weight my options with other teams now. Just know this is only the beginning. All respect to Tennessee tho."
Tennessee reportedly cited academic reasons for pulling its scholarship offer to Lee, but that didn't stop him from accepting a scholarship to Temple in the aftermath.
“I don’t think this is a good way of doing business. They told him the whole time all he had to do is make the test score," Hayes added, also telling GoVolsXtra that Lee achieved a qualifying standardized test score on his final attempt in June.
"Last Wednesday they called him and said he can’t get through admissions. He graduated from high school in December. They’ve had his transcript since January. Looks like they’d know whether he could get through admissions."
This past fall, Hayes coached Dillon to its third state title since 2009 and did so without the services of Lee, whose knee injury kept him from much of his senior season. Lee rushed for more than 1,500 yards and almost 30 touchdowns as a junior.
Hayes was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year, and he has been a member of the state legislature since 1998, so he's probably not a guy any Division I football coach wants to get on the wrong side of. It's a shame Tennessee appears to have overlooked just such a consideration.