Tag Archives: Ja’Wuan James

Charles Davis says he wasn’t surprised by Antonio Richardson’s NFL draft slide (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Former Tennessee player and current television analyst Charles Davis was one of the first to raise concerns about the health of Vol lineman Antonio “Tiny” Richardson back in February.

But after Richardson was not drafted last month and signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings, Davis said he took no pleasure in being right.

“I saw that coming early in the process,” Davis said during a visit to Knoxville for a benefit honoring the memory of former Vol Harry Galbreath. “We saw him in the Combine, and I think it was my big mouth that said, ‘Something doesn’t look right…He doesn’t look totally healthy.’ A lot of buzz got created out of that, and I felt badly, because I wasn’t trying to denigrate the kid. He just didn’t look right.

“I followed up on it and I actually had three or four teams tell me, ‘He’s not clear on our board medically.’ So I knew there was something going on. So it didn’t surprise me when he slipped. He’s got to get healthy. When he does, we’ll see that talent come out.”

In more positive draft news, Vols lineman Ja’Wuan James was selected in the first round by the Miami Dolphins. Davis said he believes James impressed teams with his character and work ethic, which helped him move up draft boards.

“Ja’Wuan James I figured would go before Tiny. But I don’t think anyone saw him in the first round. That was a major surprise, but I’m very happy for him,” Davis said. “He was rising as we went on. He went from being considered a third, fourth round guy to a solid second round guy going into the draft. The Dolphins had a heavy need, really liked his character. After the troubles they’ve had, he’s the perfect antidote to that.”

49 SEC players were drafted by NFL teams this month, but 4 teams didn’t take any

Ja’Wuan James was one of 49 SEC players drafted (AP photo, J. Pat Carter)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — My radio colleague Vince Ferrara has written up a comprehensive rundown on the 49 SEC players drafted by NFL teams and where they fit on their new clubs.

He tackles everyone from Jadeveon Clowney, No. 1, to Michael Sam, the 49th pick from the SEC and the 249th overall.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: The Houston Texans took five SEC players, including Clowney, and the St. Louis Rams drafted four, including Sam. Seattle, Miami, Cincinnati and Kansas City had three each.

Four teams — Dallas, San Diego, Minnesota and the N.Y. Jets — didn’t have any.

Read the complete breakdown here.

Ja’Wuan James says Miami Dolphins’ pick fulfilled his wish

Ja’Wuan James at Tennessee’s pro day this spring (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Miami Dolphins officials said several times on Friday that they had “targeted” Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James for a long time.

The feeling was apparently mutual.

James said after his visit to Miami for a pre-draft interview, he knew he wanted to play for the Dolphins and he was overjoyed when the team selected him in the first round on Thursday.

“God definitely blessed me,” James said during a press conference in Miami. “He heard my prayers and answered them…I wanted to be a part of this team.”

James said he felt comfortable with the coaches, executives and players on the Dolphins — including former teammate Dallas Thomas, who he called one of his best friends.

James sidestepped questions about the Dolphins’ locker room drama from a year ago, when offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended for allegedly bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.

“That’s last year,” James said. “I’m comfortable with this environment.”

James said he based that on his “interaction with everyone on the coaching staff and everyone in the organization. Talking to some of the guys on the team, I just felt it was the right atmosphere.”

James also shrugged off a tweet from new teammate Mike Pouncey that seemed to make light of last year’s bullying scandal.

“It’s all part of the process of being a rookie,” James said.

James was a leader at Tennessee and one of the most media-friendly players at the team. He won his first press conference at Miami by displaying a similar charisma.

Asked if he expected to be a starter on opening day, he had a reply ready.

“I don’t expect anything,” he said. “I expect to come in and work hard. That’s how I was raised my whole life. You’ve got to earn what you’re given.”

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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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: 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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Vols will honor 28 players Saturday on Senior Day

Defensive end Corey Miller stretches before practice last week (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee will honor 28 players before Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt, including four who are technically fourth-year juniors but will graduate and play their final games this month.

We’ll have short capsules on each player in Saturday’s News Sentinel. For now, here’s the list.

TE Joseph Ayres

RB Austin Bolen*

LB Brent Brewer

OL Alex Bullard

LS J.R. Carr

DB Tyler Coombes*

LB Raiques Crump

WR/H Tyler Drummer

OL Zach Fulton

LB Gregory Grieco*

DT Daniel Hood

Ja’Wuan James before a game this year (photo by Evan Woodbery)

OL Ja’Wuan James

DB Reggie Juin

LB Greg King

DT Daniel McCullers

DE Corey Miller

S Byron Moore

RB Rajion Neal

QB Tyler Page*

P/K Michael Palardy

WR Brett Parisi*

LB John Propst

LB Dontavis Sapp

DE Jacques Smith

OL James Stone

TE Dakota Summers*

DE Marlon Walls

WR Dylan West*

*fourth-year juniors

Ja’Wuan James on his relationship with Butch Jones (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When Butch Jones has an idea or wants to get the pulse of the team, he talks to senior offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James.

Here’s an excerpt from a subscriber-only story about James in today’s News Sentinel.

James said it took him a while to get used to that degree of openness from a head coach.

“It might be one o’clock in the morning and you get a text or call and he’s just thinking football, wanting to call you and talk to you. He says, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about this, I thought about that.’ You’re scared at first, thinking ‘Why are you calling me at 12?’ ”

James recreated a conversation for reporters on Tuesday:

James: “What’s up?”

Jones: “Man, I’ve been watching film and I can’t wait to play on Saturday. How are you feeling?”

James: “Well, I’m kind of tired …”

Some more videos worth checking out…

Clips from Jones and highlights from Tuesday’s practice, plus the latest installment of GVX Spotlight.

‘Sweet Home Alabama’ blares at Vols practice on Tuesday

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — As is customary, Tennessee’s football practice included a few selections from the opponent’s playlist.

That means the Vols heard “Yea, Alabama,” the Crimson Tide’s fight song, and “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Also, Butch Jones included his familiar tweaks of Tennessee players.

To defensive end Corey Miller: “C’mon, Miller. You have to go against the best tackle in the country, Cyrus Kounandjio.”

To offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James: “James, you get to play on the same field as Kouandjio.”