Tag Archives: Naz Oliver

Tennessee 2014 recruiting: A look at the Vols’ needs after some additions and subtractions

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Vols have added an elite defensive lineman since we last took a big-picture view of their 2014 recruiting efforts.

The verbal commitment of DaVonte Lambert gives UT a highly rated player at a position of need (defensive line). Plus, he’ll come in with two years of junior college seasoning and thus be more likely to play right away.

UT also lost two players when veterans Naz Oliver, a defensive back, and Channing Fugate, a linebacker, decided to move on.

Fugate has landed back in his home state at Eastern Kentucky. Because both players are seniors, their departure doesn’t affect the 2014 recruiting calculus in any way.

With about five spots left, the Vols have essentially met all their needs except for the offensive line.

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Remember the projected numbers at each position aren’t written in stone and are merely estimates of what the average SEC team might want. Teams could easily get away with fewer than 14 offensive lineman, as that’s a developmental position and not one in which players start from Day 1. However, there are only 85 scholarship spots to play with. And if UT coaches would like to have, say, 15 receivers, as I believe they do, those numbers must be deducted somewhere else.

Finally, remember that coaches have a better handle on future attrition than we do. So their recruiting aims often prepare for inevitable departures that have yet to occur.

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Tennessee football: Naz Oliver’s departure leaves Vols with 3 members of 2009 class

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee confirmed the departure of senior defensive back Naz Oliver Wednesday night, although it was lost amid a flurry of significant injury news.

Naz Oliver (UT photo)

Naz Oliver (UT photo)

If nothing else, Oliver was a survivor. It’s tough to last to a fifth year in the SEC, and even tougher when you are beset by injuries and hardly play at all.

Oliver will graduate and leave UT with a degree, coach Butch Jones said. He thus could be eligible to play immediately at another school, and Jones said UT wants to help him find an opportunity if he chooses to pursue a final season.

Oliver’s departure leaves UT with three remaining signees from the Class of 2009, the only class signed by former coach Lane Kiffin. They are: defensive linemen Marlon Walls and Daniel Hood and linebacker Greg King. Tight end Joseph Ayres, a former walk-on, is also a fifth-year player.

Oliver’s departure leaves the Vols with an estimated 82 players on scholarship, including at least four former walk-ons who we think are currently receiving athletic aid. When the new semester starts in two weeks, coaches could hand out additional scholarships to walk-ons should they choose to do so. The NCAA maximum is 85.

So what does Tennessee’s scholarship roster look like now? For one thing, it no longer has a New Jersey representative. Oliver was the lone Garden State native.

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Tennessee football 2013 spring preview: Defensive backs


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s first spring football season under new coach Butch Jones begins Saturday.

In the days leading up to the start of practice, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Vols as they embark on a new season.

The defensive backs are in desperate need of a fresh start after last year’s defensive disaster. This group can’t possibly be as bad as it appeared at times in 2012, and a good mixture of veterans and talented newcomers could surprise people in 2013. After last year’s performances, it’s tough to project many starting jobs, meaning spring will be critical for impressing new coaches.

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