Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Last Run

Today marks the final run through the T for 20 Vol seniors when the Vols take on Kentucky. In a year where this class can complete a turnaround with a win today and leave with much to be proud of, including an Eastern Division Championship in 2004 and a chance to win two big bowl games, here's a look at what's on display for the last time at Neyland Stadium today, and what'll have to be replaced in 2007. Some of the names who've made an impact in Knoxville during their journey:

FB Corey Anderson
Anderson, sadly, may be best remembered for leaving the game at the one yard line and watching the ball go out of the end zone for a touchback at Alabama last year. However, Anderson - used more by Randy Sanders than David Cutcliffe - was and is a versatile, athletic fullback who may get a look from the combine, and was the starter at his position for more than two years as the pride of Austin-East.

DT Justin Harrell
Another who didn't get to reach his full potential, but for a different reason. Harrell spent two years reaping the benefits of the double teams that Jesse Maholena received, came into his own as the Defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M, and elected to stay for his senior season to anchor the defensive line. He had a big role in stuffing Cal and played his final game as a hero, putting off surgery to play one more week against Florida. His biggest impact in 2006 has been his absence, as the Vol D-line has struggled to slow the running games of LSU and Arkansas. Should get a shot in the NFL.

OG David Ligon
Asked to be versatile like most Vol offensive linemen, Ligon played and started at center last year before moving to guard in 2006, where he has started every game.

DT Turk McBride
Playing outside on end before Harrell's injury moved him back inside, McBride has been the best defensive tackle on the team this year and may also get a look in the NFL. Played well alongsie...

DT Matt McGlothlin
The good walk-on story who has been a mainstay at defensive tackle in 2006 with one of the biggest motors on the team.

LB Marvin Mitchell
Became the steady presence and middle linebacker in his first opportunity to start after playing in games since his true freshman season in 2002. Turned into a veteran leader for the young LB corps and now leads the team in tackles.

OT Arron Sears
The seemingly rare example of a five star prospect who turned into a five star player, Sears - a three year starter - is without question the best offensive lineman on this team and will be the senior most difficult to replace on offense.

WR Bret Smith
Made an instant impact against Florida as a true freshman, catching a long bomb in The Swamp to setup a touchdown. This year, has turned into the deadliest #3 receiver since Peerless Price lined up there ten years ago with Nash and Kent. Capable of turning the big play, made a great TD against Arkansas to go with clutch TD grabs against Georgia in 2004 and 2006.

SS Antwan Stewart
Was a freshman All-America before suffering an injury and moving from corner to strong safety, where he has held off younger players and maintained a starting role. Solid in the secondary his entire career.

WR Jayson Swain
At his best against Alabama but always there to make the clutch catch, has been a great combo with Robert Meachem to become the best WR tandem in the SEC in 2006. His leadership, route running and hands will definitely be missed in the WR corps.

CB Jonathan Wade
After two years of playing him at wide receiver and trying to find his niche, moved to corner and learned from Jason Allen before turning into a dynamic playmaker at the first corner spot since Allen's injury. Has helped shut down DeSean Jackson, Sidney Rice, and Earl Bennett in 2006, and has the flat out speed to play in the NFL.

K James Wilhoit
Will leave Tennessee as the most decorated kicker since Jeff Hall. Written in stone in Volunteer lore for beating Florida with a 50 yard field goal in 2004. Has been clutch this year and is arguably the best kicker in the SEC. Not easy to replace by any means, but I'm sure we've got a freshman on the way.

No comments: