Tag Archives: Dontavius Blair

Tennessee spring football 2014: The offensive line

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With spring practice starting this week, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: the offensive line. 

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014 than the offensive line.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

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Butch Jones faces 1st off-field incident of his tenure after 9 Vols arrested or cited Sunday

The apartment complex where Knox County Sheriff’s deputies arrested or cited 25 people on Feb. 9, 2014. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones learned on Sunday that not only were nine of his current players arrested or cited, but that some of his most trusted and experienced players were included on the list.

News Sentinel subscribers can read the full report of Sunday’s incident here.

Jones and his staff have likely spent the last 24 hours weighing how to react. After all, most of the players swept up in the massive police presence at Quarry Trail apartments were likely the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Underage consumption of alcohol, while illegal, is something so common on college campuses as to barely register notice.

Allegations against A.J. Johnson and Danny O’Brien, as well as former player Dontavis Sapp, are more serious. But we don’t have any track record for how Jones handles off-the-field disciplinary matters, as this is believed to be the first arrest of his tenure.

Here’s the tally of the 12 current or former members of the Tennessee football team who were arrested or cited:

Current players

Arrested

LB A.J. Johnson: providing alcohol to underage persons; resisting arrest

DT Danny O’Brien: underage consumption of alcohol; resisting arrest; false impersonation

Cited

LB Curtis Maggitt: providing alcohol to underage persons

LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin: providing alcohol to underage persons

LB Jakob Johnson: providing alcohol to underage persons

OL Dontavius Blair: underage drinking

DL Dimarya Mixon: underage drinking

CB Justin Coleman: underage drinking

DL Malik Brown: underage drinking

Former players

Arrested

Dontavis Sapp: providing alcohol to underage persons; resisting arrest

Isaac Mobley: underage drinking

Cited

Daniel Sola: underage drinking

Add Neiko Creamer to the Vols’ list of early enrollees

Neiko Creamer (247Sports photo)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeNeiko Creamer is enrolling early after all.

The receiver/athlete from Maryland was left off the list of 14 early enrollees released by Tennessee on Wednesday.

On Saturday, UT sent out a tweet welcoming him to the team.

A quick glance at the roster showed who was the odd man out. Defensive end Joe Henderson is not listed, suggesting that he could not get approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse in time to satisfy coaches. If, as it appears, he doesn’t plan to enroll early, Henderson’s recruitment would still be open and he could sign with any team — including Tennessee — in February.

As of 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, Henderson was still included on the list of early enrollees and a UT-produced video was still live on Youtube.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones has consistently said the Vols have room for 14 early enrollees, so it seems unlikely that the team could accept 15.

The other wild card is Dontavius Blair, who is wrapping up online courses this week and has not yet attended classes. Blair, however, is still listed on the roster.

A UT spokesperson said the tweets and videos about Henderson this week are not an NCAA violation because Henderson had signed a non-binding athletic aid agreement that allowed coaches to talk about him publicly, something usually prohibited for unsigned prospects.

Tennessee football position preview: Offensive line starting anew, but Marcus Jackson could help ease transition

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

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — It’s appropriate to begin our series of offseason previews with the offensive line. Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

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As Vols wait on word from DaVonte Lambert, a look at UT’s 3 juco signees in the fold (videos)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Junior college defensive end DaVonte Lambert is expected to choose between Tennessee and Auburn at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, but three other signees are already in the fold.

All three of the new Vols could play an important role in 2014. Von Pearson (in the top video) is a 6-foot-3 wideout from Virginia who spent the last two years at California junior college. Along with freshman signee Josh Malone, he’s expected to fight for a spot in the receiver rotation from Day 1.

Offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (below) is a 6-foot-8 giant who the Vols are hoping will lock down one of the five vacancies on the offensive line this spring.

Owen Williams (below) isn’t as highly rated as the first two prospects, but he plays defensive tackle, where the Vols urgently need bodies.

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Vols commitment Dontavius Blair signs financial aid agreement

https://twitter.com/UTCoachThig/status/399640262521020416

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen tweeted out the photo above with Vols coach Butch Jones and offensive tackle commitment Dontavius Blair.

Although the tweet doesn’t say precisely, this is a pretty good indication that Blair his signed an athletic aid agreement with Tennessee. It does not mean he has signed a National Letter of Intent. Mid-year junior college enrollees can sign a letter starting Dec. 18.

Several players have taken advantage of a new NCAA rules interpretation that allows players to sign an athletic aid agreement before signing a Letter of Intent. Players must be on track to meet academic admission requirements.

Schools are obligated to honor the scholarship of the player, who is not yet bound by a NLI. The benefit for the school is that normal recruiting restrictions no longer apply.

Blair, originally from Anniston, Ala., is a 6-foot-8, 302-pound tackle at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

Update: Blair isn’t the only commitment who signed an aid agreement this weekend.

Dontavius Blair’s commitment leaves few gaps in Tennessee’s 2014 class

Dontavius Blair (Photo by 247 Sports)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When Tennessee coaches pitched the opportunity for early playing time to Dontavius Blair, they weren’t selling him a bill of goods.

The Vols will lose at least four and probably all five of their current offensive linemen. There are promising options on the second team, but very little experience.

A top junior college prospect like Blair will have every opportunity to start in 2014.

Here’s the complete list of 25 verbal commitments in the Vols’ class.

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Officially, the Vols have only about four spots remaining, although that could change as the class shakes out in the final months before National Signing Day.

Some of the distinctions below are flexible. A defensive end could gain some weight and play tackle. A linebacker could add weight and become a defensive end. Some of the commitments can play receiver or defensive back. Others, like Neiko Creamer, have even more options.

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Dontavius Blair commits to Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Four-star junior college offensive tackle prospect Dontavius Blair has verbally committed to Tennessee.

Blair announced the news on his Twitter account.

A native of Anniston, Ala., Blair attends Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

He had interest from Texas A&M, Auburn and others, according to his 247 profile.

Butch Jones offered a reaction on Twitter.