Tag Archives: Devaun Swafford

With Jacob Gilliam and Devaun Swafford now on scholarship, a look at the Vols’ roster

Devaun Swafford in practice this spring (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — With space available on the team’s 85-man scholarship roster, Tennessee coach Butch Jones awarded scholarships to the two most logical choices.

Fifth-year senior Jacob Gilliam has been a longtime walk-on and is in line to potentially start at offensive tackle this year. Second-year sophomore Devaun Swafford was thrown into the fire and played regularly as a nickel back in 2013. He’ll be in the regular rotation in 2014, possibly as a safety.

Jones told News Sentinel partner GoVols247 about the news Tuesday night.

Jacob Gilliam in practice this spring (photo by Evan Woodbery)

“They’re very consistent in their approach, and not only are they helping us on the football field, they’re doing well in the classroom,” Jones said before a speaking engagement in Johnson City.

Tennessee’s new scholarship roster is embedded below. Click here if you can’t see the graphic or if you want to view the spreadsheet directly. Be advised the projection of 83 scholarship players is unofficial and subject to change. But there is likely one or possibly two more slots available for a veteran walk-on this summer.

You can also check out the updated depth chart (Gilliam and Swafford are no longer color-coded as walk-ons!) Also, check out the new “needs chart” for 2015. Gilliam’s addition to the scholarship rolls doesn’t impact that calculus, as this is his final year of eligibility.

A look at Tennessee’s 2013 class: Who played, who will take a redshirt (chart)

Receiver Johnathon Johnson goes up for a catch during warmups at Missouri earlier this year (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Two members of Tennessee’s 2013 class played in all 12 games this year.

One is easy to guess. The other is much more difficult.

Freshman cornerback Cameron Sutton was likely the most pleasant surprise of the hastily assembled 2013 class, starting every game and emerging as perhaps the Vols’ most trusted defensive back.

Who also played in every game? Freshman safety Lemond Johnson was a special teams regular, despite (as far as I can tell) not playing a single snap on defense.

(Note: Freshman walk-on Devaun Swafford also played in all 12 games. Thanks to @donnieconley for the catch).

Receivers Marquez North, Josh Smith and Johnathon Johnson also played important roles in 2013. Some who I expected to have a major impact — like tight end Woody Quinn and cornerback Riyahd Jones hardly played at all.

As Tennessee welcomes a huge signing class in 2014, it’s worth remembering how difficult it is project freshman performance. Even arriving early is no guarantee of success. Of the five players who enrolled early and went through spring practice in 2013, only one made an impact beyond special teams. That would be defensive end Corey Vereen.

 Who can take a redshirt?

Officially, six players did not take a snap and are eligible for a redshirt season: Offensive linemen Brett Kendrick and Austin Sanders, defensive ends Malik Brown and Kendal Vickers, quarterback Riley Ferguson and receiver Ryan Jenkins.

Jenkins is battling a worrisome chronic injury, so it will be interesting to see how or if he responds in spring. The linemen weren’t needed immediately and got a chance to bulk up and work out during the season. Ferguson was on call until the very end, but ultimately survived the season with his redshirt intact.

In theory, there are two more defensive linemen who would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver — sometimes called a medical redshirt — if they sustained documented injuries during the season. Jason Carr and Jaylen Miller played in only three games (all during the first half of the season).

I’m not sure UT intends to request waivers for either player, however, because coaches didn’t “sell” the hypothetical “injuries” very aggressively during the year. In fact, Carr was even mentioned as a possible option to play late in the year.

We’ll find out soon enough whether Carr and Miller enter 2014 as sophomores or redshirt freshmen.


Name High school Position 247Sports Composite rating Games played Games started
Marquez North Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) WR 0.9574 11 11
Joshua Dobbs Alpharetta (Alpharetta, Ga.) QB 0.9276 5 4
Jason Carr White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) DL 0.9197 3 0
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) S/LB 0.9051 11 0
Ryan Jenkins Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) WR 0.8832 0 0
Austin Sanders Bradley Central (Cleveland, Tenn.) OL 0.8793 0 0
Riley Ferguson Butler (Matthews, N.C.) QB 0.8741 0 0
Paul Harris Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) WR 0.868 5 0
Corey Vereen West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.) DE 0.8678 9 0
Lemond Johnson Cooper City (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) S 0.8656 12 0
Cameron Sutton Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) CB 0.8625 12 12
Jaylen Miller Gaffney (Gaffney, S.C.) DL 0.8566 3 0
A.J. Branisel Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School (Chardon, Ohio) TE 0.8503 10 0
Johnathon Johnson Friendswood (Friendswood, Texas) WR 0.84 10 2
Malik Brown Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) DE 0.8387 0 0
Dylan Wiesman Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) OL 0.8352 10 0
Brett Kendrick Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) OL 0.8296 0 0
Malik Foreman Dobyns Bennett (Kingsport, Tenn.) CB 0.829 9 0
Riyahd Jones Carver High (Columbus, Ga.) CB 0.8262 2 0
Josh Smith Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) WR 0.821 11 4
Woody Quinn St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) TE 0.8091 2 0
Kendal Vickers Havelock (Havelock, N.C.) DE 0.7997 0 0
Jabo Lee Dillon High (Dillon, S.C.) RB

Was Geraldo Orta’s hit on Georgia punter Collin Barber dirty? (.gif)

A frame-by-frame look at Geraldo Orta’s block on Collin Barber in the third quarter Saturday against Georgia.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Georgia punter Collin Barber suffered a concussion after being blocked by Geraldo Orta in the third quarter on Saturday.

The Vols were returning a blocked punt and Barber was charging after the play.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday whether he had complained to the league office.

Richt didn’t answer, saying any inquiries he makes to the league are private.

But the reporter who asked the question seemed certain that Orta should have been flagged for a targeting foul. So I went back and watched the video.

The stricter rules on “targeting” now include classifying punters and kickers as “defenseless players” at all times. That means cheap shots, blocks that blindside the punter during a return, are illegal.

So was this a blindside block? From Orta’s perspective, the punter charged toward him. It’s quite possible that the punter’s eyes were focused on the returner, Devaun Swafford, and that he didn’t see Orta until the last moment. But it’s hard to define this as a true blindside block. The would-be tackler was charging toward the ball-carrier. The blocker was in between. Orta didn’t swoop in from the side to obliterate him. He squared up and made a block.

The next question is whether Orta illegally targeted the head. While the punter’s head did snap back violently, Orta appeared to make contact with his forearms to the player’s chest. I wonder if Barber might have sustained the concussion when his head hit the turf?

Concussions should be taken seriously and college football’s crackdown on cheap hits and targeted shots to the head is commendable. But a review of the video makes it hard to find anything Orta could have done differently, short of getting run over by a punter who was charging at him.

Verdict: It was clean.