Tag Archives: Daniel McCullers

Tennessee’s NFL pro day: Crowded field of linemen competing for scouts’ attention

Daniel McCullers (center) visits with Mo Couch (left) during pro day on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery).

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s NFL pro day is underway at the Neyland Thompson Sports Complex on campus.

Scouts have plenty of players to keep tabs on.

The Vols’ entire 2013 offensive line, much of their defensive line, a couple of experienced special-teamers and others will be working out.

The 14 players participating in UT’s pro day.

In all 14 players are going through drills. The list is in the photo at above.

We’ll update the posts periodically with notes and quotes.

Here are some 40-yard dash times, according to UT: Alex Bullard (5.69 seconds), J.R. Carr (5.22), Mo Couch (5.32), Daniel McCullers (5.35), Rajion Neal (4.53), Michael Palardy (4.64), Dontavis Sapp (4.68), Jacques Smith (4.94) and Marlon Walls (5.07).

Bench-press reps at 225 pounds: Bullard, 31; Carr, 21; Couch, 31; McCullers, 27, Corey Miller, 33; Neal, 28; Sapp, 25; Smith, 27; Walls, 21.

Tennessee’s offensive linemen work out on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Here are some offensive linemen numbers from the NFL combine for the sake of comparison.

In addition to the 14 players from the 2013 roster shown above, there are a few other former Vols going through workouts, including defensive backs Eric Gordon and Rod Wilks, defensive lineman Willie Bohannon and a handful of players from other local colleges.

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Some say injury worries could hurt Antonio Richardson’s NFL draft standing

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson warms up during his final week of practice last December (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — What does the future hold for former Tennessee offensive lineman Antonio “Tiny” Richardson?

After his appearance at the NFL Combine, which officially wraps up on Tuesday, that answer is not entirely clearly.

Richardson was expected to be a late first round or early second round choice, according to many projections, but his combine performance was panned by some for being too slow.

That raises another question: His health.

Richardson underwent knee surgery after the 2012 season and at least one reporter — former Tennessee player Charles Davis — has suggested that his knee remains an issue. Davis even suggested that Richardson might have to “redshirt” his freshman season in the NFL.

Obviously, teams don’t draft first round players to “redshirt” them. NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah even labeled Richardson as a “fifth-round pick.”

This is all unwelcome news for Richardson, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday.

But he can take heart in knowing that misinformation and disinformation is at a premium in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft.

Separating fact from opinion and truth from fiction can be hard to do.

What about the rest of the Vols? Daniel Lewis ran down all their measurements from the Combine. Vols defensive tackle Daniel McCullers will add his numbers to the list on Monday.

Checking in on Vols at the NFL Combine

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson warms up before his final college game last November at Kentucky (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Defensive lineman Daniel McCullers will start his NFL Combine experience on Friday by attending orientation  the rest of his position grouping, while the four Vols offensive linemen in attendance are in the midst of Day 3.

Some have mentioned that all the linemen looked fairly svelte, especially Ja’Wuan James — although that could be because he decided to shave his head completely.

Here’s how they measured up:

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson: 6-foot-6, 336 pounds (9 pounds heavier than 2013 roster listed weight)

 

Zach Fulton: 6-foot-5, 316 pounds (7 pounds lighter)

James Stone: 6-foot-4, 306 pounds (15 pounds heavier)

Ja’Wuan James: 6-foot-6, 311 pounds  (7 pounds lighter)

James told reporters in Indianapolis that working under different coaches had taught him flexibility and the ability to pick up new offenses.

“I faced great pass-rushers all the time in the SEC,” he said. “I can pass block and I can run block.

The Washington Post describes him as a third or fourth-round pick.

This blog post speculates about which of the four Vols might end up in New England playing for Bill Belichick.

5 Tennessee players invited to NFL Combine (report)

Antonio Richardson (KNS photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Five players from Tennessee’s 2013 team have been invited to the NFL Combine, according to an NFL.com report.

Offensive linemen Ja’Wuan James, Zach Fulton, Antonio “Tiny” Richardson and James Stone and defensive lineman Daniel McCullers have reportedly been invited to the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis. The event begins Feb. 19.

Tennessee is replacing all five starters from its 2013 offensive linemen. Among that group, only Alex Bullard did not get a Combine invitation.

James and McCullers both participated in last month’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., although James did not play in the game due to injury.

Tennessee football position preview: Defensive line will be deep, but very inexperienced

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The sixth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in March.

Jordan Williams will be the most experienced returning player on the defensive line (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee is losing six seniors who accounted for roughly 70 percent of the team’s snaps on its defensive line.

Some of the team’s most visible leaders are included among that group.

But while the outlook for 2014 is challenging, it’s not entirely hopeless. A large crop of newcomers will be pushed to compete for playing time immediately. Just as important, a group of inexperienced returning players will be asked to seize a fresh opportunity for playing time.

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Among the departing players, Daniel Hood and Daniel McCullers might be among the most difficult to immediately replace. Big tackles usually don’t just arrive on campus. They are grown and develop over time. 

Jacques Smith, Corey Miller and Marlon Walls also capped their careers with solid senior seasons in 2013.

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Tennessee recruiting: Vols have needs but also flexibility on defensive line

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Butch Jones watches practice last week (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s aggressive recruiting efforts show no signs of slowing, even as the Vols push past the 30-man limit in their class.

Cory Thomas was the latest player to verbally commit to the 2014 class.

Here’s a look at Tennessee’s class within the context of its current roster. Be sure to check out the disclaimer and details below.

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I’ve tweaked the breakdown above, adding a section for roster non-contributors. These are players who are in at least their second year in the program and have not contributed and don’t appear close to contributing right now. I didn’t want to single anyone out, but in order to provide a clear picture of the recruiting efforts, those numbers needed to be considered.

The usual caveat applies: This is a speculative exercise and may not match UT’s goals, strategy, etc.

The only major issue remains at defensive tackle, but that’s somewhat misleading, as many defensive tackles start their career at end.

Daniel McCullers (facing camera) chats with Trevarris Saulsberry before the Auburn game.

Even so, with Daniel McCullers and Daniel Hood graduating, the Vols would love to have more depth inside — both on the current roster, and in the 2014 class.

Who could grow into a defensive tackle? Anyone, really, including several options on the current roster. But if you’re looking for a big run-stuffer in the mold of McCullers, the options are more limited.

Dimarya Mixon (6-3, 265) is the only player listed as a tackle among the current group of commitments.

DaVonte Lambert (listed at 6-3, 275), Derek Barnett (6-3, 265), Thomas (6-6, 270) and DeWayne Hendrix (6-5 254) are all big ends, while Joe Henderson (6-3, 228) is in the lighter, weak-side mold.

Obviously, all heights and weights should be taken with a grain of salt, but compare those numbers to Hood (6-4, 277), McCullers (6-8, 351) and reserve tackle Trevarris Saulsberry (6-4, 291). Except for McCullers, the differences aren’t immense.

Marlon Walls (6-2, 272) is mainly an end now, although he’s played tackle before and frequently will move inside on passing downs when speed rushers come in.

Vols freshman tackle Jason Carr (6-5, 285) played briefly this year but will have a chance to earn more playing time in 2014.

Long story short, will defensive tackle be a concern in 2014? Probably. A crisis? Perhaps not.

Tennessee football practice: Goodbye Daniel McCullers, Hello Dan McCullers

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Butch Jones says we should be grilling out today.

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The pre-practice stretch period is a time when Butch Jones usually imparts serious messages. So there was a look of mild concern among players when he announced, “I want you to know, I cut somebody today.”

He was met by silence.

“Do you know who I cut?”

More silence.

“Look around and see who’s missing.”

Finally, players caught on. No. 98 Daniel McCullers was gone.

In his place, was No. 63.

“I want everyone to welcome No. 63, Dan McCullers to the team,” Jones said.

Everyone started clapping. The media put down their rosters and stopped  hunting for a missing player.

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Tennessee football depth chart: A position-by-position glance at the Vols’ depth

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(to view the document above in its own window, click here)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s new depth chart released on Monday didn’t reveal any major surprises, but it did show the Vols’ depth issues with more vivid clarity.

The receiver spot, for example, may lack SEC talent or experience. But it doesn’t lack in numbers. The defensive tackle position has SEC-level talent, but worrisome depth. The cornerback spot? Well, some fear it has all the above.

The chart above is my best interpretation of Tennessee’s complete depth chart, listing every player on the roster. (Some late-arriving walk-ons are not yet listed, as they have not been officially added to the roster. That could happen as soon as today).

A few things I found interesting…

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Tennessee football practice: Notes from Sunday’s session at Haslam Field

Justin Worley

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley takes a snap in practice on Aug. 18, 2013 at Haslam Field in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — One day after an open session at Neyland Stadium, the Vols were back on the normal practice fields.

A heavy morning rain gave way to some sunshine, so Tennessee stayed outdoors for the workout.

The Vols will have one more practice on Monday before taking off Tuesday and Wednesday to get players ready for the start of school. (Although as Butch Jones would point out, there are no true off-days. They just won’t practice).

Here’s what we learned from Sunday’s session:

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Tennessee football practice: Vols back for Day 2 of camp

Drae Bowles, GIF

Tennessee receiver Drae Bowles bobbles and nearly catches a pass in practice on Friday. (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s football team went through the second day of training camp on Saturday at Haslam Field.

The weather cooperated again. Those summer thunder showers that seem to strike every afternoon have stayed away.

We’ll have more after the post-practice interviews, including notes and quotes from players and coaches. For now, a few quick thoughts.

* The receivers, as a whole, look better than they did in the spring. Part of the reason is that there are simply more of them, so more reps are going to scholarship players. Freshman Paul Harris has clearly improved. Justin Croom has looked fairly sharp. Among the newcomers, I’m not sure anyone has stood out. MarQuez North and Josh Smith have both struggled with stuff at times, but also have shown promise.

* Linebacker/tight end/fullback Justin King was in the injury cage again today, although based on some of the physical work he was doing, I can’t imagine he’ll be there for long. He was joined by linebacker Christian Harris.

* Receiver Cody Blanc was responsible for “winning” the opening part of practice for the offense by catching a short pass in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown.

Otherwise, I’m not sure they’re “keeping score” of these early practices like they were in the spring. If they are, they’re certainly not advertising the winners and losers. We may see some more hitting and Oklahoma drills later in camp. (Or given the precarious depth in some areas, maybe we won’t).

* We heard Butch call out Daniel McCullers for the first time this camp. (See the story about him in today’s paper). But while he left tight end Woody Quinn — Friday’s whipping boy — alone, he did target two freshmen tight ends for walking. “Coach Mark Elder,” he yelled over the mic to the tight ends coach. “Your two freshmen are walking!”