Monthly Archives: December 2015

From UT athletics site: An open letter from Curt Maggitt

Found it important to further disperse this a little bit. Here’s an open letter to UT fans from Curt Maggitt on the UT athletics website. 

Vol Fans,

I know that some of the biggest questions you have had all season have been about me and how I’m doing after my injury. I’ve heard it from you around town and on social media and I’m grateful for your support and the way you’ve made me feel in my time here at Tennessee.

It’s love all across the state. When I was in Nashville recently seeing a doctor, a guy walked up to me and asked how I was doing. I couldn’t even sit in the lobby of the doctor’s office because so many people recognized me. It’s crazy, but it’s been like a childhood dream to be recognized and notable and have a positive influence and be known for the right reasons. I appreciate Vol Nation a lot.

The biggest thing I see in our fan base is the passion. Right when I was coming to school as a freshman, I walked in a basketball game and an older lady recognized me and we had a conversation where she told me she had been a season ticket holder for 40 years and she hadn’t missed a game. Here I am, a freshman coming out of high school and I didn’t know what to think.

Over time, I’ve met a lot of people like that, where it’s been 30, 40, 50 years that they have been coming to games. They can remember missing one or two games and they know exactly what game it was. There is so much passion. It’s a part of the Tennessee culture to be a Vol fan and I’ve been very appreciative of all of that support, especially through the tough times that we’ve had. Our fans deserve the best. They deserve SEC Championships, National Championships, all of that. It’s coming.

I came to Knoxville to play football and be the best football player I could be. But in the process, I fell in love with Tennessee and everything it had to offer, from the mountains to the great people to the apple butter and jelly. This is a place I will settle some day and still try to use my influence to help kids grow. Any way I can help, that’s my goal, to give back to the community.

Every fall, it’s going to be football time and I want to be as close as possible. I could definitely see myself having a very stable life here. I have a lot of passion about where I’m from and where I was raised, so the first few years I was all about going back to Palm Beach. But over the last couple of years, I’d go back home and couldn’t wait to get back to Knoxville.

My time here has not been like I first imagined, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve had a few surgeries, I’ve missed some games, but at the end of the day my relationship with God has gotten stronger through the tough times I’ve had. I’ve met a lot of people that care about me so much more than as a football player and want me to grow as a person. I think I’ve grown a lot and I’ve come to see that the ultimate goal in life is not to be the best football player. It’s about growing as a person and using your influence to impact the community around you. I feel like I’ve done a great job at that and I’m excited for the future.

This season has been extremely difficult for me since suffering my injury against Oklahoma.

The moment that the doctors told me it was not a simple strain or something like that was tough. I didn’t believe it. I thought that my body heals well, so we would see how I felt in four or five weeks. Four or five weeks passed and I said I’m ready to take the challenge on to get healthy, no matter what.

It was very tough, one of the toughest things I’ve been through because of the potential I knew we had as a team, that we still have as a team, and what I knew I could bring to the team. I feel like I shorted my team a little bit by not being out there, so that’s why I tried to do the most I could, the best I could in any way I could.

The biggest thing I learned this season is how much I enjoy being a part of the team and part of the culture and the unity we have. This is a winning culture. This season, I’ve been doing a lot of coaching and I’ve been appreciative of that.

I will continue to play football until God says “No more,” but then I’ll still use my influence the best way I can and be the best person that I can. The past few years have been great in the sense of challenging me and knocking me down and making me get back up.

Thanks for your continued support and we will see you in Tampa!

Go Vols!

Curt Maggitt

Evan Berry on SI’s All-American team

Tennessee sophomore Evan Berry was named a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated on Thursday. Berry led the nation in average kickoff return yardage with 38.3 yards per return and three touchdowns.

Berry was one of six SEC players on the first team, joining Alabama running back Derrick Henry, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and linebacker Reggie Ragland, Arkansas offensive tackle Sebastian Tretola and Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers.

Berry named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

Tennessee kickoff returner Evan Berry was named the SEC’s Special Teams Player of the Year on Wednesday.

Berry led the nation with 38.3 yards per return. He took three kickoffs back for touchdowns, which matched Willie Gault’s Tennessee record.

Alabama running back Derrick Henry was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Crimson TIde linebacker Reggie Ragland was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk was named SEC Freshman of the Year and Florida’s Jim McElwain was named Coach of the Year.

Tennessee 17th nationally in total assistant salaries; Jancek 64th among individuals

USA Today released its annual salary database for assistant coaches on Wednesday. Tennessee ranked 17th among all staffs nationally in 2015 with a combined salary of $3,540,700. 

Defensive coordinator John Jancek is the Vols’ highest paid assistant coach, making $520,000 per year. That puts him 64th overall among assistant coaches in the nation.

Berry, Hurd, Barnett named All-SEC by coaches

Tennessee sophomore kickoff returner Evan Berry was named a first-team All-SEC return specialist by the conference’s coaches, the SEC announced Tuesday.

Sophomore running back Jalen Hurd and sophomore defensive end Derek Barnett were named second-team picks.

Berry led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 38.3 yards per kickoff return and took three returns back for touchdowns. Hurd rushed for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Barnett recorded 61 tackles including 11.5 for loss and nine sacks.

Outback Bowl President McVay: “This is exactly what we were hoping for.”

Bowl projections for most of the week had Tennessee playing Northwestern in the Outback Bowl at noon on Jan. 1 in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Outback Bowl president Jim McVay said Sunday evening after projection became reality that he had been rooting for the projection.

“This could be a heck of a football game,” he said in a phone interview with the News Sentinel. “This is what we were hoping for. We’re like you. We have a big board and we’re trying to figure out who is going where, but this is exactly what we were hoping for.”

McVay said last week that he believed Tennessee checks every box in terms of what the bowl wanted in an SEC representative. He reiterated that on Sunday evening.

“We love everything  about the Tennessee Volunteers,” McVay said. “Their players are tough guys they’re competitors. They have an excellent coaching staff.  Butch Jones is exceptional. Their fans, and how about the way they finished. Tennessee, I guarantee, there’s teams they played earlier in the year, I don’t think they’d want to play Tennessee again.”

McVay said he’s just as excited about Northwestern, which is rated No. 13 in the College Football Playoff Top 25.

“How about 10-2?” McVay said. “How about beating Stanford? Northwestern has tough guys that are well coached, that are disciplined and know how to play the game.”

Vols officially headed to the Outback Bowl

Tennessee will play Northwestern in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at noon in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., the SEC announced Sunday.
This will be the Vols’ first trip to the Outback Bowl since Jan. 1, 2008, when they defeated Wisconsin 21-17. The Vols finished 8-4 this season and in second in the SEC East with a 5-3 conference mark. They were rated No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff Top 25.
Northwestern finished 10-2 this season and was ranked No. 13 in the final College Football Playoff Top 25. The Wildcats’ only losses came against No. 5 Iowa and No. 14 Michigan. The Wildcats are led by sophomore running back Justin Jackson, who ranks third in the Big Ten with 1,344 rushing yards, and middle linebacker Anthony Walker, who ranks fourth in the conference with 113 tackles.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones will receive a $200,000 bonus for the Vols’ appearance in the Outback Bowl.
This will be the Vols’ fourth trip to the Tampa-based bowl. When it was still called the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1993, the Vols defeated Boston College 38-23 behind four total touchdowns from Heath Shuler. The Vols lost to Penn State 20-10 in the 2007 Outback Bowl before defeating Wisconsin there the following season.
The Vols’ only previous meeting with Northwestern came in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 1997, when the Vols won 48-28.

Florida to the Citrus, ESPN’s McMurphy reporting to UT to the Outback…what we know so far

Brett McMurphy of ESPN is reporting that Tennessee will be going to to the Outback Bowl, and all signs appear to be pointing in that direction. However, Tennessee spokesman Ryan Robinson said the Vols don’t expect to be able to make an official announcement on their bowl destination until 5:30 p.m.

All signs, though, appear to point to UT-Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. The Citrus Bowl has formally announced that Michigan will be playing Florida in its game. Mississippi State and North Carolina are reported to be playing in the Belk Bowl, which would appear to be Tennessee’s second-most likely destination.

More to come.

Bowl Projections: Outback becoming more likely

The Outback Bowl is Tennessee’s ceiling. New Year’s Six Bowls have been out of the question for some time, and the Citrus Bowl posted on its Twitter account on Sunday night that it has narrowed its possible choices to Ole Miss, Florida, LSU, and Georgia. 

However, more and more projections suggest that the Vols could reach that ceiling. Outback Bowl president and CEO Jim McVay said Monday the bowl would be interested in Tennessee as well as several other SEC teams, and the Vols’ stock may have risen Tuesday night when they were named the No. 25 team in the College Football Playoff. The SEC makes the final decision, though, on its representatives for its Pool of Six bowls — the Outback, TaxSlayer, Belk, Music City, Liberty and Texas.

Regardless, bowl projections for the Vols follow.

Zac Ellis of Sports Illustrated projects Tennessee to play Michigan in the Outback Bowl. 

Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy of ESPN both project Tennessee to play Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. 

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports projects the Vols to play Northwestern in the Outback Bowl., an outlier, has Tennessee playing West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. 

The Orlando Sentinel has Tennessee playing Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. 

Bleacher Report also has Tennessee playing West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. 

Jerry Palm of CBS has Tennessee playing Northwestern in the Outback Bowl. 

Bill Bender of the Sporting News, who may have forgotten UT played in the TaxSlayer Bowl last year, has UT playing Pittsburgh in the TaxSlayer Bowl.