Happy Birthday - June 5

On June 5 we're wishing a happy birthday to Luis Valero of men's tennis!



Luis recently concluded his freshman year with Tennessee men's tennis, notching a singles record of 18-14 and a doubles mark of 15-11 over the 2014-15 season. His 18 singles wins are the second-most on the team and the biggest of which likely came in the SEC Tournament when he rallied from a break down to win his match and clinch the Vols' 4-3 victory over Alabama. The Cali, Colombia, native has been ranked as high as No. 71 in the world junior rankings. Born this day in 1996, Valero is 19 years old today.

Happy birthday, Luis!




Happy Birthday - June 4

On June 4 we're sending 'happy birthday' wishes to Lizzie Cornell of track and field and to baseball VFL Steve Searcy!



A four-year performer from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Cornell recently concluded her career on Rocky Top. A distance specialist, Cornell competed during all three facets of the season: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. In 2014-15, she competed in three cross country races, setting a new career-best 6K time at the NCAA South Regional and during the outdoor seasons she recorded a new PR of 2:23.90 in the 800 meters. At season's end, she was named the Tennessee Track & Field Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year.



Searcy spent five seasons in the Major Leagues following the conclusion of his playing career at the University of Tennessee. He pitched at UT from 1983-85, going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA as a freshman. The Knoxville native would go on to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of 1985 MLB Draft and he made his pro debut on Aug. 29, 1988. Searcy would pitch four seasons for the Tigers before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Primarily a reliever, Searcy finished his MLB career with six wins, a 5.68 ERA, and over 187.0 innings pitched.

Happy birthday Lizzie and Steve!

 

Happy Birthday - June 3

On June 3 we're wishing a happy birthday to former softball standout Melissa Davin!



Davin played for the Lady Vols from 2011-14, playing in 210 games over her career. A utility player who saw time in both the infield and the outfield, Davin finished her time on Rocky Top with a career batting average of .306 with 30 home runs and 111 RBIs. She put together her best season during her senior campaign, posting a career-best .331 batting average to go along with 14 homers and 41 RBIs. In light of those achievements, Davin was named first team All-SEC and second team NFCA All-Southeast Region. She was also a member of the 2014 SEC Community Service Team. 

Happy birthday, Melissa!



Happy Birthday - June 1

It's the first day of June and we're wishing a happy birthday to swimming's Peter John Stevens!



Stevens recently concluded a strong freshman year on Rocky Top as he closed out his rookie stint with All-America and first team All-SEC honors. The Kranj, Slovenia, native was part of the winning 200 medley relay team at the SEC Championships, giving him his first gold medal at UT. The 200 MR team finished in 1:24.09 with Stevens providing a breaststroke split of 22.72 -- believed to be the fastest ever. In the 100 breaststroke, his time of 51.88 recorded during the preliminary rounds at SECs is already the second-fastest time ever recorded at Tennessee.

Brown this day in 1996, Stevens is 19 years old today.

Happy birthday, Peter John Stevens!


PeyBack Foundation Awards More Than $1 Million To Youth Organizations

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For everywhere Peyton Manning has lived, he likes to leave an imprint on the communities that have supported him.

Grants from Manning's PeyBack Foundation distributed for this year totaled just over $1 million, given to 144 youth-based organizations across Colorado, Tennessee, Louisiana and Indiana. The goal of the foundation is to promote growth and future success of disadvantaged youth through assisting programs that provide leadership and development opportunities. Since it was created in 1999, the PeyBack Foundation has provided more than $11 million through grants and programs for at-risk youth.


Watch this video feature about Peyton Manning's work in the community >>  http://dbron.co/6s5




Happy Birthday - May 28

On May 28 we're wishing a happy birthday to a quartet of Volunteers: Hannah Wilkinson of women's soccer, Austin Sanders of football, Steven Kane of baseball, and VFL and former big leaguer Mike DiFelice



Wilkinson wrapped up her senior season in the fall but will return in 2015 after being granted a fifth-year of eligibility. That fifth year will come after a stop at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada where she will represent her native New Zealand on the global stage. A forward, Wilkinson scored a team-high nine goals for UT last season, including a two-goal performance against No. 17 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. She is 23 years old today.



Sanders is a rising sophomore offensive lineman for Vol football, standing 6-5 and weighing in at 307. He made his UT debut last season as a redshirt freshman in the season-opener against Utah State and went on to appear in four more games for the Vols. The Cleveland, Tennessee, native turns 20 years old today.



Kane recently completed his debut season for Tennessee baseball after arriving on Rocky Top from Cypress Community College. The righty pitched in 19 games for UT, recording an ERA of 4.64 and a 2-1 overall record in 33 innings of work. A native of Peoria, Arizona, Kane is 22 years old today.



Lastly, we wish a happy birthday to former big league catcher and current minor league manager DiFelice. He was an All-SEC catcher for the Vols and lettered from 1989-91. During the 1990 season, he ranked among the top 10 in the SEC in hitting (.353), home runs (10), and slugging percentage (.624). He was drafted in 1991 by the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to spend 11 seasons as a catcher in the majors. DiFelice was inducted into the Tennessee baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Happy birthday Hannah, Austin, Steven, and Mike!





Happy Birthday - May 27

On May 27 we're wishing a happy Big Orange birthday to football's Chance Hall and to Jack Little of track and field! 



Hall enrolled at Tennessee in January as an early enrollee from Roanoke, Virginia. An offensive lineman, Hall ranked as a four-star prospect out of Northside High School where he was a first team all-state pick in 2013. He begins his true freshman season in the fall of 2015. Born this day in 1997, Hall is 18 years old today.



Little is a rising senior from Yorktown, Virginia. A distance specialist, Little competes during all three seasons: cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. During the cross country season in the fall of 2014, he competed in all six races for Tennessee and recorded three top-50 finishes. Little is 21 years old today.

Happy birthday Chance and Jack!




Happy Birthday - May 22

On May 22 we're wishing a happy birthday to baseball's Bret Marks



Marks recently completed his senior season with the Vols and went 4-5 on the hill with a 2.92 ERA. He logged 89 strikeouts through 77.0 innings of work during the 2015 season and will finish his career on Rocky Top with a career ERA of 3.46 to go along with 99 strikeouts over his two seasons in the orange and white. A transfer from Wallace State Community College, Marks prepped at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, Georgia, and is 23 years old today.

Happy birthday, Bret!


FOX Sports: Barnett Will Be 'Nation's Next Breakout Star'

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman has a tremendous feature on the Vols rising sophomore sensation, defensive end Derek Barnett: Tennessee's Derek Barnett will be the nation's next breakout star


 

Here's the lede:

Great football players are seldom defined by any physical testing numbers. Still, eye-catching 40 times or vertical jump measurements often help turn a four-star recruit into a five-star guy. Last summer when freshman Derek Barnett arrived in Knoxville, he came to Tennessee as a blue-chip prospect but was hardly one of the more hyped recruits in UT's class, much less in the SEC's freshman crop.

Vols coach Butch Jones thought Barnett had a chance to be an impact guy for his rebuilding program but admits he didn't realize quite what he had until about UT's second week of fall practice last August. The Vols were in a "thud" situation during one of their practice periods when Jalen Hurd, their five-star freshman running back, broke out of a cluster around the line of scrimmage and took off down the right sidelines. Jones and the rest of his staff were stunned when they spotted Barnett, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound blur fly in from the opposite side of the field to blast Hurd.

"OK, this kid could be pretty special," Jones thought. The more he observed Barnett, the more amazed he was by Barnett's motor. "It's unreal," Jones says. Of course, the coach never would've imagined that Barnett would proceed to set the Vols record for most sacks (10) and tackles for loss (20.5) in a season by a freshman or that the kid would lead the entire SEC in TFLs (18) in league play.


READ MORE: Tennessee's Derek Barnett will be the nation's next breakout star


Thursday's Tennessee Football Briefing (5/21/15)

The Big Orange Caravan finished up in Nashville on Wednesday night at LP Field, where the Vols will open the 2015 season in 107 days. Check out coverage from the event here:  Caravan Concludes Tour In Music City.


Here's what the media was writing following the event: 


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