Tag Archives: Jacques Smith

Undrafted James Stone fighting for spot on Falcons (updates on Vols competing for NFL spots)

James Stone (photo by KNS photographer Michael Patrick)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeAntonio “Tiny” Richardson‘s NFL draft snub got most of the attention earlier this month, but there was another Tennessee offensive lineman who wasn’t selected.

Center James Stone signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons after the draft. Like most free agents, his path to a roster spot is uncertain, but Stone has a handful of factors working in his favor. He’s smart, he’s versatile and he has well-respected people vouching for him.

“In one year’s time with him, I was just really impressed with how smart of a player he is,” Vols offensive line coach Don Mahoney told ESPN. “And you have to look at his value to play two positions [center and guard]. I know that’s a big deal, with how many players they carry on a roster. And again, because of him mentally being able to be such a smart player, I think there’s just a tremendous upside to him.” 

Although more than a dozen Vols either worked out or signed free-agent deals after the draft, the NFL is so competitive that very few of them are likely to be rosters by the time the season starts. For many of the players in the group, getting a practice squad job would be beating the odds. Will Stone fare differently? We’ll find out.

Here are some updates on the rest of the Vols selected in the NFL draft or signed afterwards:

Currently on official NFL rosters…

Ja’Wuan James, selected in first round (19th overall) by Miami Dolphins…likely to open season as starter.

Zach Fulton, selected in sixth round (193rd overall) by Kansas City Chiefs….signed 4-year contract.

Daniel McCullers, selected in sixth round (215th overall) by Pittsburgh Steelers…signed 4-year contract.

Richardson….free-agent signee with Minnesota Vikings

Stone…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons

Dontavis Sapp…free-agent signee with Dallas Cowboys.

Rajion Neal…free-agent signee with Green Bay Packers

Jacques Smith…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons

Alex Bullard….free-agent signee with Detroit Lions

Others…

Michael Palardy…attended New York Jets minicamp.

Mo Couch….attended Dallas Cowboys minicamp

J.R. Carr….attended Washington Redskins minicamp

Corey Miller…attended Kansas City Chiefs minicamp

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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Vols’ depth chart changes for Alabama game

Devrin Young (News Sentinel photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There were some minor changes to Tennessee’s official depth chart released on Monday morning.

Devrin Young is now listed as the backup slot receiver behind Alton “Pig” Howard, supplanting Johnathon Johnson.

Freshman defensive end Corey Vereen is now listed as the third Leo end behind starter Jacques Smith and Jordan Williams.

Linebacker Curt Maggitt, who hasn’t played all year as he recovers from ACL surgery, is no longer listed as a backup on the depth chart. Christian Harris, John Propst and Greg King are all in the two-deep behind starters A.J. Johnson, Dontavis Sapp and Brent Brewer.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey speaks to Vols before Georgia game

Dave Ramsey bio

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Motivational speaker and personal finance guru Dave Ramsey spoke to Tennessee’s chapel session on Friday.

His apparent message: “What you think about, you bring about.”

Here’s some player reaction after Ramsey’s talk:

Ramsey is a 1982 graduate of the University of Tennessee. He has written several best-selling books and hosts a popular syndicated radio program.

Tennessee football practice: Goodbye Daniel McCullers, Hello Dan McCullers

Butch Jones says we should be grilling out today.

A post shared by Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) on

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 #PracticeGram: Scenes from Haslam Field

 

WR Jacob Carter, with QB Nathan Peterman in the background.

A post shared by Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) on

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After a physical two-a-day on Monday, the Vols return to the practice fields this afternoon at 3:40 p.m.

There will be another two-a-day on Wednesday before the team’s official media on Thursday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.

We wrote today about Vincent Dallas moving to cornerback and what it means for the Vols’ defensive depth, plus a full complement of notes and quotes. Don’t forget to check out our practice video, too. (Watch it in your highest HD setting for best results.)

Now on to the photos. Click on the image for caption information and follow me on Instagram for immediate post-practice photos.

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Tennessee football practice: Vols back on practice field, as Butch Jones preaches defense

Mark Elder, Woody Quinn

Tight ends coach Mark Elder talks to tight end Woody Quinn during practice at Haslam Field on Aug. 9, 2013, in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones challenged the defensive line on Friday after early-practice struggles during team work.

When the offense plowed into the end zone on a running play, Jones bellowed, “We can run all day! Soft!”

Later, he challenged nose tackle Daniel Hood to exhort his teammates and insisted the unit raise their fists after a third-down stop.

“We’re going to stop the run around here,” Jones said.

We’ll have some more later tonight and Saturday morning after post-practice interviews.

* We saw some punting on Friday. As expected, Michael Palardy worked with the ones, while Matt Darr worked with the second group. They called out the “get-off time” for each punt, which the Internet says should be about 2 to 2.1 seconds. I heard UT’s time range from 1.98 to 2.01 seconds. My sense is that Palardy is well ahead in this race.

* First-team quarterback Justin Worley had a scheduled non-throwing day, going through the motions but resting his arm. Redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman took reps with the first team, while freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson worked with second and third teams.

* Jacques Smith sported a hard-cast from hand to elbow, protecting his surgically repaired right thumb. The Vols’ senior defensive end still donned a jersey, working the sidelines as a cheerleader. Jones is expected to address the injury to Corey Vereen after practice today.

* Running back Tom Smith, linebacker Curt Maggitt, tight end Justin King and strong safety Byron Moore all wore green non-contact jerseys. Receiver Paul Harris and tight end Alex Ellis worked on the sidelines.

* Media heard a new addition to the motivational stylings of Butch Jones. Following 11-on-11 action, the UT coach uncorked this one: “Taking someone’s soul – that’s how you play football!”

* A few walk-on roster moves: Longtime walk-on fullback Austin Bolen of Farragut has moved on. New additions are quarterback Tyler Page and defensive back Tyler Coombes. Both were with the unit in the spring and had planned to join the team when rosters expand in two weeks. Instead, they’re here now.

Reporter Brendan F. Quinn contributed to this blog.