Tag Archives: Von Pearson

Wrapping up Friday’s scrimmage at Neyland Stadium (video, photos, .gifs)

Coach Butch Jones (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian before the scrimmage (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones dismissed his players on Friday with instructions to visit with family and get some rest. But he also told them to be ready for football when they return.

The Vols are now in the midst of an 10-day break from practices, but the final practice on Friday was a fearsome one.

Subscribers can read all about on GoVolsXtra or today’s News Sentinel. I’ll update our depth charts with a few tidbits gleaned from the scrimmage later today.

For now, check out some brief pre-scrimmage highlights and some photos and .gifs after the jump.

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Von Pearson makes SportsCenter top 10, plus more video, photos, .gifs from practice

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VIDEO: Here's Pearson at #9 on #SCTop10!

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If you thought there was no way the hype surrounding Tennessee receiver Von Pearson could grow any larger, think again.

On Friday morning, after a mere four days of spring football, Pearson’s one-handed catch appeared on the SportsCenter top 10.

Pearson, 23, took a long route to college football through Feather River College in California. Subscribers can read my story about him in today’s News Sentinel.

Pearson has yet to appear in a Division I game, or even a scrimmage.

I asked receivers coach Zach Azzanni if he was afraid all this attention would go to his head.

“He’s not wired like that, oddly enough,” Azzanni said. “But I’ll guard against it. I’m pretty good at that.”

Check out two views of Pearson’s catch in our practice videos after the jump.

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Updating the (very) early Vols’ depth chart after a weekend of practices

Marquez North faced reporters for the first time on Saturday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee won’t even put pads on for the first time until Tuesday, so our early spring depth chart is premature at best.

The depth chart is best viewed as a constantly evolving document rather than a permanent fixture. It’s certainly not the “official” depth chart — to the extent that such a thing even exists right now. But it does reflect our best guess based on watching a limited portion of practice and talking to players and coaches.

This depth chart also includes updated numbers and weights from the newly refreshed official roster.

The full numerical roster is on the main tab. Click each tab to the left to see the projected depth chart at each position.

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A few notes on some of the changes:

* I moved Von Pearson up the ladder after he appeared in the “first unit” during drills and had a very solid few days of drills.

With only eight healthy scholarship receivers, all eight would likely play in a hypothetical game if the season started today. The actual depth chart will become more clear as UT decides how it’s going to handle the slot receiver position in the absence of Alton “Pig” Howard. Pearson is getting a look at the spot, but Johnathon Johnson is also likely to play a lot there.

* We now have at least a framework for the offensive line. Dylan Wiesman could still push Kyler Kerbyson for a guard spot, or push Coleman Thomas for a starting job, which would slide Kerbyson to tackle. But because of his versatility, Wiesman would be a good “sixth man.”

* I think we’ll see plenty of cross-training in the secondary this spring, which will make it difficult to sort out where all the pieces will fit until August. I get the sense that coaches really like Emmanuel Moseley, but he will have to gain some pounds this summer.

I did this pre-spring rundown (linked below) with Vince Ferrara a few days ago, but most of it has held up pretty well since the start of spring.

In new roster release, Vols added 284 pounds: See the gainers and losers

Jordan Williams is up to 272 pounds in the latest roster release (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee unveiled an updated roster over the weekend, which means we can now see “officially” what players have been saying informally for months.

The team, collectively, is considerably bigger than it was this time last year.

Individually As a whole, the Vols gained 419 pounds and lost 135 since the last roster update to net a 284-pound gain. (Although UT may have edited some players, I don’t believe the roster has gone through wholesale weight updates since August of 2013).

What stood out?

* Most of the defensive ends are bigger, including young players like Kendal Vickers and Jaylen Miller who you would expect to put on pounds.

* Coleman Thomas, a freshman who is working at first-team tackle, is up to 311 pounds. If he’s not SEC-ready, it won’t be a size issue.

* Brendan Downs is down 20 pounds to 228. Initially, I thought that might be a typo, but fellow tight end A.J. Branisel also dropped 11 pounds to 224. A strategy to make the tight ends more nimble? A coincidence? A typo? I’ll try to find out. (Update: I’m told the lower weights are, in fact, accurate as listed.)

* Receiver Von Pearson dropped four pounds but gained two inches. So there’s that. I doubt he went on a growth spurt at age 23, so we’ll try to get clarification on that too. (Update: I’m told 6-foot-3 is the official height.)

Other roster notes…

* There are a handful of new numbers. Most notably, freshman cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is now No. 12.

* Two walk-ons — linebacker Taylor Spivey and offensive lineman Jay Heins — are no longer on the roster.

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Tennessee spring football Saturday roundup (photos, video, .gifs)

Butch Jones at practice on Saturday (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones started his tenure last spring with several practices forced indoors by chilly weather.

So perhaps the two brilliant days on Friday and Saturday are a good omen for his second season.

Jones didn’t talk to reporters on Saturday, as he handled Junior Day duties. But we did have interesting interviews with Corey Vereen, Marquez North, Cameron Sutton and others.

You can read all our coverage on GoVolsXtra, although some content is for subscribers only.

You’ll want to check out at least the beginning of today’s practice video for some solid one-on-one footage.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Sutton, who has been victimized by the Von Pearson show so far in spring camp:

Tennessee sophomore cornerback Cameron Sutton made some nice stops during drills on Saturday morning, but he’s having hard time forgetting one play on which he was burned badly Friday night.

In that play, junior college newcomer Von Pearson caught a pass near the sidelines, juked left and then turned upfield, all but buckling the knees of Sutton, normally one of the Vols’ fastest and most reliable defensive backs.

Why can’t Sutton forget it?

Because it’s playing on a loop over and over again in the Tennessee football football facility as part of the daily practice highlights.

“He’s shifty,” Sutton said of Pearson.

When Jones said the 14 early-enrolled newcomers would elevate the level of competition in spring camp, this is what he had in mind.

Not only will players like Pearson and highly rated freshman receiver Josh Malone create new competition at receiver, they’ll also be providing tougher daily tests for the secondary.

I also wrote about Vereen, who lived up to Butch Jones’ billing as a serious and studious worker. Here’s a snippet from his interview, and a little bit of Marlin Lane.

Offensive graduate assistant Nick Sheridan on Saturday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

The Vols didn’t have much coaching staff turnover during the offseason, but they did welcome a new offensive graduate assistant in Nick Sheridan, who will work a lot with the quarterbacks.

Sheridan is a former Michigan quarterback who last worked at South Florida.

Check out more photos and .gifs after the jump. Or click here for a link to the full gallery.

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A fresh look at Tennessee’s spring roster with new faces, new positions

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Consider the roster a handy guide for Tennessee spring football, which starts on Friday.

As we wrote earlier today on GoVolsXtra, receiver Alton “Pig” Howard will miss spring ball due to what were described as personal reasons. Additionally, Vols coach Butch Jones confirmed that freshman Neiko Creamer would start the spring at linebacker, while Devrin Young would be listed as a running back.

The net result, at least on paper, is that the receiving corps won’t look as robust as it might have a few weeks ago. But that should provide plenty of opportunities for Josh Malone and Von Pearson, who will be two of the most-watched players of spring camp.

The roster above includes updated numbers (Creamer moved from No. 82 to 31) but not new weights. Click on each of the tabs to see a breakdown by position, listed in a very, very rough depth chart.

Tennessee spring practice 2014: The receivers

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With spring practice less than a week away, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: the receivers. 

Receivers coach Zach Azzanni (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian during practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There have a few changes which could alter the spring depth chart. First, here’s what I wrote a few months ago.

Marquez North emerged as a big-play threat in his freshman season with the Vols.

In an offense that struggled to throw downfield, he was sometimes the only big-play threat.

The good news is that North was still raw for much of his debut season and he should improve after a year of coaching.

Alton “Pig” Howard should hold down the slot position if he stays focused on off-the-field responsibilities. Coaches thought he turned a corner in maturity in the 2013 season, but they still have some lingering concerns about his ability to lead by example.

Jason Croom and Josh Smith shared the third receiver spot, although Croom began to pull away as the season progressed. I’m told there are no plans to move Croom to tight end, where he had worked some earlier in his career.

Only two players are leaving (see below). Vincent Dallas departed mid-season, while Josh Harris was the most surprisingly of the three players who were given their release earlier this month.

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Dallas had bounced between receiver and defensive back during his career. Harris was only a freshman, but his best chance to make an impact may have already come and gone during 2013.

There are reinforcements coming.

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Tennessee football position preview: Receivers will face competition from new faces

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The third 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.

Receivers coach Zach Azzanni (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian during practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMarquez North emerged as a big-play threat in his freshman season with the Vols.

In an offense that struggled to throw downfield, he was sometimes the only big-play threat.

The good news is that North was still raw for much of his debut season and he should improve after a year of coaching.

Alton “Pig” Howard should hold down the slot position if he stays focused on off-the-field responsibilities. Coaches thought he turned a corner in maturity in the 2013 season, but they still have some lingering concerns about his ability to lead by example.

Jason Croom and Josh Smith shared the third receiver spot, although Croom began to pull away as the season progressed. I’m told there are no plans to move Croom to tight end, where he had worked some earlier in his career.

Only two players are leaving (see below). Vincent Dallas departed mid-season, while Josh Harris was the most surprisingly of the three players who were given their release earlier this month.

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Dallas had bounced between receiver and defensive back during his career. Harris was only a freshman, but his best chance to make an impact may have already come and gone during 2013.

There are reinforcements coming.

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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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