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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Tennessee
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  09/16/20 - Cade MaysrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 328 (DS#1 OT) + More +

  Trey Smith applauds the way Cade Mays is handling himself as he awaits his NCAA transfer waiver fate. "He's busting his butt. He's going to practice," Smith said of his fellow Tennessee offensive lineman. Smith contrasted that with his image of the NCAA decision makers who hold Mays' fate for the 2020 season in their hands. "The people who are making these decisions are just sitting in a meeting room, just drinking coffee and just looking at paper," Smith said. "You know, so it's really asinine, to say the least, man." The NCAA denied Mays' transfer waiver in August. Tennessee has filed a request that the NCAA reconsider its decision to deny the transfer waiver, and additional information was submitted to the NCAA, Knoxville lawyer Gregory P. Isaacs confirmed to Knox News on Tuesday. Isaacs is representing Mays through the waiver appeal process. "We're optimistic that we're going to hear something in the near future," Isaacs told Knox News when asked for an update on Mays' status. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#1 OT) rJr/2023 OT Cade MaysTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  09/09/20 - Trey SmithSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-5, 335 (DS#2 OG) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Trey Smith, Tennessee,...Smith started 12 games at left guard in 2019 en route to All-SEC First Team honors from the coaches and media. He was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this fall. After missing the final five games of the 2018 season and a comeback to football questionable due to complications stemming from blood clots, Smith returned to his dominant ways and spearheaded Tennessee's six-game win streak to end the season. - Tennessee Football

(DS#2 OG) Sr/2021 OG Trey SmithTennessee
News Source: Tennessee Football
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  09/09/20 - Shawn ShamburgerSr/2021, Tennessee, 5-11, 185 (DS#69 CB) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Shawn Shamburger, Tennessee,...Veteran defensive back who has played in 36 games, starting 15...He recorded a career-high 47 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception last season playing primarily at the STAR position. - Tennessee Football

(DS#69 CB) Sr/2021 CB Shawn ShamburgerTennessee
News Source: Tennessee Football
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  09/09/20 - Josh PalmerSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-1, 200 (DS#32 WR) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Josh Palmer, Tennessee,...Explosive receiver poised for a promising senior season...Appeared in 37 games with 24 starts...Caught 66 passes for 1,039 yards and three touchdowns...Also has one rushing score to his credit...46 of his 66 catches have gone for a first down...Owns 10 career catches of 25 or more yards. - Tennessee Football

(DS#32 WR) Sr/2021 WR Josh PalmerTennessee
News Source: Tennessee Football
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  Tennessee's quarterback race starts with Guarantano, a fact offensive coordinator Jim Chaney emphasized last week and Weinke echoed Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Lodi, New Jersey, had a rocky first half of last season but helped stabilize the Vols as they won their final six games to cap an 8-5 record. Guarantano enters this season with 34 career appearances and 25 career starts, having completed 391 of 642 passes (61.0%) for 5,062 yards with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 2.02% career interception rate is the lowest in program history, and program history includes Peyton Manning.

"There is no doubt you see the confidence in Jarrett," Weinke said. "He had the opportunity to spend this offseason studying the offense and watching a lot of film. During this whole pandemic, and I've talked to him every single day, there wasn't a day when he wasn't doing something that would help get him better, whether he was working out or throwing. He came in here about 228 pounds and looked great, and we're trying to keep all that weight on him. "You see a different level of confidence in him because he has a better understanding of what exactly we're trying to get accomplished on every single play." Weinke added that Guarantano "becoming a functional thinker" and his anticipation are the biggest jumps he has performed in the past year. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#30 QB) rSr/2021 QB Jarrett GuarantanoTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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  09/03/20 - Harrison BaileyFr/2024, Tennessee, 6-4, 225 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  Harrison Bailey had to wait to make his first preseason practice impressions with Tennessee football. His initial opportunities had bright spots, according to Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt. "I thought he had a period there where he really kind of shined taking care of the football," Pruitt said Friday of Wednesday's practice. Bailey, Tennessee's highly touted freshman quarterback, hopped into UT practices for the second week after he missed the first week. Pruitt said after Tennessee's first practice on Aug. 17 that "a few" players did not participate and were quarantined because of COVID-19 protocol. Bailey was among them.

Pruitt did not detail whether Bailey tested positive for COVID-19 or was quarantined because of contact-tracing protocol. Bailey's father, Orvel, told The Athletic that Bailey did not test positive for COVID-19 and was in required quarantine because of a high-risk contact. "I think Harrison is going to be a solid football player for us here," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Thursday. "He looks to me like every other freshman quarterback I have had to deal with. They are just learning. The ones they know, they play quick and fine. "I am pleased with Harrison as he continues to develop." - Knoxville News Sentinel


(DS#999 QB) Fr/2024 QB Harrison BaileyTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/29/20 - Josh PalmerSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-1, 200 (DS#32 WR) + More +

  Palmer spent much of his first three seasons in Knoxville as a nice complementary piece to the Callaway-Jennings tandem, racking up 66 career receptions for 1,039 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has 46 receptions that have resulted in first downs and 10 catches that have yielded at least 25-yard gains. This season, Palmer is the veteran leader of Tennessee's receiving group along with fifth-year senior Brandon Johnson, who opted to redshirt four games into last year's run to the Gator Bowl. "Marquez and Jauan taught Brandon and me a lot when they were here," Palmer said. "I was fortunate enough to play with them for three years, and they taught me a lot mentally and physically. With their absence, it has paved the way for the way we're coming in now. We're just taking advantage of the opportunity in the receiver room."

Palmer is entering his final year as a stout believer in fifth-year senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano - "Jarrett's confidence has always been through the roof, no matter what you might see on television," he said - and with stability. For the first time in his college career, Palmer has the same offensive coordinator (Jim Chaney) as the season before. There have been 24 career starts to this point, and Palmer promises he won't be fazed by future starts in front of limited crowds. "Coming from Canada, where I played high school football, you could count on a single hand the number of people who would come to the games," said Palmer, whose hometown is Brampton, Ontario. "I'm used to playing in front of a lot of people, and I'm used to playing in front of close to nothing. Obviously it's going to be different seeing an empty stadium, but it's something I'm used to. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#32 WR) Sr/2021 WR Josh PalmerTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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  08/26/20 - Henry Too TooSo/2023, Tennessee, 6-2, 235 (DS#2 ILB) + More +

  When linebacker Henry To'o To'o signed with Tennessee in February 2019, it answered the question of where the top-50 national prospect would play college football. Nobody knew then that the question would eventually become whether he would play football. To'o To'o hails from California prep powerhouse De La Salle in Concord, which is 30 miles from San Francisco and 22 miles from Oakland. It's right in the heart of Pac-12 Conference country, with Stanford University in Palo Alto an hour away and with the University of California in Berkeley less than a half-hour drive.

The Pac-12 announced earlier this month that it was following the Big Ten's lead and would be cancelling all fall semester sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Ten and Pac-12 are attempting to play football in the spring. "A lot of people in the Pac-12 who I know are pretty bummed, to be honest with you," To'o To'o said. "I have a lot of family in the Pac-12, and being able to talk to them, they also wanted a season and they also wanted to play. That wasn't their call to make." As the Volunteers and the rest of the Southeastern Conference programs progress through their second week of preseason camp, those SEC players from outside the league's 11-state footprint realize how fortunate they have it. Those within the SEC footprint, of course, are beginning to recognize it as well. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#2 ILB) So/2023 ILB Henry Too TooTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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  08/25/20 - Paxton BrooksJr/2022, Tennessee, 6-5, 194 (DS#999 P) + More +

  2020 PRESEASON RAY GUY AWARD WATCH LIST: Paxton Brooks, Tennessee,...Third-year punter and kickoff specialist who has played in 25 career games...Averages 41.7 yards per punt and 61.6 yards per kickoff...69 of his 116 kickoffs have gone for touchbacks (59.5)...Two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll...Through his leadership efforts, selected to the 2020-21 VOLeaders Academy. - Tennessee Football

(DS#999 P) Jr/2022 P Paxton BrooksTennessee
News Source: Tennessee Football
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  08/22/20 - Austin PoperSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-4, 235 (DS#39 TE) + More +

  Tennessee tight end Austin Pope is progressing toward being ready for the Sept. 26 season opener against South Carolina after he had offseason back surgery on a herniated disc. Pope has practiced this week. "He continues to improve," Pruitt said. "If he continues to improve like he has the last five weeks, he should be ready to play for the opener." The Christian Academy of Knoxville graduate is the most experienced of Tennessee's tight ends. He has played in 33 career games in his career, including 14 starts. Although not heavily involved in the passing game, Pope played an important role last season as a run blocker and in pass protection. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#39 TE) rSr/2021 TE Austin PopeTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/21/20 - Brandon KennedyrSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-2, 301 (DS#24 C) + More +

  Brandon Kennedy had plenty of reasons to opt out of college football even as the Southeastern Conference prepares for its league-only season. He already has earned a master's degree in sports psychology and will graduate in December with his second in agriculture leadership. The Tennessee center didn't have to take advantage of the rare sixth year of eligibility to graduate after a torn ACL wiped out his 2018 season. Even anud a pandemic, Kennedy just wants to play. "I'm ready to play," Kennedy said Thursday. "I feel like I've worked hard for this senior year and coming back for this sixth year. I'm all in. We know the risks and the challenges, but I feel like we've been educated and they do a great job of helping us."

Kennedy was the only offensive lineman to start all 13 games last season as the Volunteers turned around a disastrous start by winning their final six games, capped by a comeback victory at the Gator Bowl for an 8-5 season. Matching those wins will be a major challenge if the SEC is able to pull off its planned 10-game schedule. The pull of football was just too much for the lineman from Wetumpka, Alabama, to pass up in a career that started at Alabama before he switched schools as a graduate transfer. "Just being able to come back, play another year, get more film on tape and also help the team be successful, I think that's what went into it," Kennedy said of his decision. "Also to be able to get another degree. I will be graduating in December...I'm excited and glad I did. I'm not looking back." - AP College Football


(DS#24 C) rSr/2021 C Brandon KennedyTennessee
News Source: AP College Football
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  08/20/20 - Eric GraySo/2023, Tennessee, 5-09, 200 (DS#19 RB) + More +

  Somebody could make Southeastern Conference football history this season by becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher against a 10-game league schedule. Tennessee sophomore Eric Gray wouldn't mind having that distinction. The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder from Memphis erupted at the end of last season, shredding Vanderbilt for 246 yards on 25 carries and following that up with a 14-carry, 86-yard showing in the Gator Bowl against Indiana. Gray earned MVP honors with his performance in Jacksonville but knows that averaging 100 yards per week against league opposition would be quite the task.

"We're going to have to take care of our bodies for sure for that to happen, and it would be a great thing to do," Gray said Thursday on a Zoom call. "If you can go out there and play 10 straight SEC games and go out there and put 1,000 yards up - who knows? Maybe you can put 2,000 yards up. "If you can go out there and prove that you're that back playing 10 SEC games - no one has ever done that. If you could be the first to do it, that would be pretty special." Tennessee's last 1,000-yard rusher was Jalen Hurd, who tallied 1,288 yards in 2015. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#19 RB) So/2023 RB Eric GrayTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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  08/19/20 - Cade MaysrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 328 (DS#1 OT) + More +

  Former Vols coach Lane Kiffin, who is in his first season as coach of Ole Miss, took to Twitter on Wednesday to join others advocating for offensive lineman Cade Mays to play this season. The Georgia transfer from Knoxville was denied a waiver for immediate eligibility. "Free Cade Mays! Feel for you Cade," Kiffin wrote, posting a link to a petition that Tennessee fans created for Mays. Tennessee sophomore offensive lineman Wanya Morris also posted a link to the petition. Former UT basketball player Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics also showed his support of Mays. UT is appealing the decision. Mays transferred to Tennessee from Georgia in January shortly after starting at left tackle for the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. The former Catholic standout started 18 games in his two seasons in Athens, taking snaps at all five positions along the offensive line. Mays, a junior, was projected as a starter for the Vols this year and is a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. - The Clarion Ledger

(DS#1 OT) rJr/2023 OT Cade MaysTennessee
News Source: The Clarion Ledger
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  08/19/20 - Cade MaysrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 328 (DS#1 OT) + More +

  Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt put his Volunteers through that long-awaited first day of preseason practice Monday afternoon but provided some disappointing news afterward. Junior offensive lineman Cade Mays, the former five-star signee from Knox Catholic who played all five positions for the Georgia Bulldogs the past two seasons before transferring to Tennessee in January, had his waiver for immediate eligibility denied by the NCAA. Tennessee is appealing the ruling. Pruitt, who attained immediate eligibility as a defensive back after transferring from Middle Tennessee State to Alabama in 1995, expressed frustration with the verdict.

"Why should we stand in the way of a young man or woman trying to figure out where the right place for them is?" Pruitt said. "Right now that's not the rule, but I hope that it eventually will be the rule. I know that for everybody who has transferred from our place, I have written a letter for a recommendation for them to the NCAA that requested that they be approved for immediate eligibility. "I know it's frustrating for Cade, and it's frustrating for our team." Tennessee senior guard Trey Smith responded to the news by posting on Twitter, "Interesting how other positions get cleared seemingly without hassle," referring to quarterbacks such as Justin Fields, Tate Martell and JT Daniels, who each obtained immediate eligibility after transferring. Mays then asked Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano on Twitter if he could "rock that No. 2 (jersey) for a season." - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#1 OT) rJr/2023 OT Cade MaysTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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  07/31/20 - Darel MiddletonSr/2021, Tennessee, 6-6, 305 (DS#15 DT) + More +

  Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton no longer faces charges of domestic assault and public intoxication for an incident with his girlfriend in February. Middleton faced a date in Knox County General Sessions Court in August, but the misdemeanor charges have been dismissed. His attorney Gregory P. Isaacs confirmed the dismissal first reported by Knox News on Friday. Middleton was arrested early Feb. 29 after fighting with a friend. The arrest warrant said Middleton shoved his girlfriend twice as she tried to break up the fight, and she scraped a knee. Middleton announced later he was seeing alcohol counseling. - AP College Football

(DS#15 DT) Sr/2021 DT Darel MiddletonTennessee
News Source: AP College Football
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