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Happy Birthday - April 1

It's a brand new month and we are wishing a very happy Big Orange birthday to football defensive coordinator John Jancek!

Coach Jancek will be entering his third season at defensive coordinator for UT in 2015. He has coached in eight bowl games, including last season's TaxSlayer Bowl and has helped his teams to five conference championships and one national championship. Last year he coached two All-SEC selections in Derek Barnett and Curt Maggitt, the former of whom was named a consensus Freshman All-American. 

Happy birthday, Coach Jancek!

Happy Birthday - March 31

It's the last day of March and we are celebrating the birthday of baseball's Benito Santiago

A freshman from Pembroke Pines, Florida, Santiago is in the midst of his true freshman season for Vol Baseball and head coach Dave Serrano. Already this year, Santiago has appeared in 14 ballgames, including nine starts behind the plate at the catcher position. He recorded his first collegiate hit during a 4-1 victory at Belmont back on Feb. 25. 

Happy birthday, Benito!

Monday's Tennessee Football Briefing (3/30/15)

Here's a look at Monday's stories from the media.

- Knoxville News Sentinel: DeBord hits the ground running
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Bigger, stronger Smith knocking off rust
- UT Daily Beacon: Reeves-Maybin thriving in leadership role for Tennessee defense  

Sunday's Tennessee Football Briefing (3/29/15)

The Vols held their first padded practice on Saturday. Get the latest on who stood out: #VolReport: Cracking The Pads including this drill from the Vols 'Circle Of Life' drill. 

Saturday was also the Vols annual Faculty Appreciation Day. Brian Rice filed this story on the day: Faculty Day Gives Insight Into Team 119.

Here's a look at coverage from the media: 
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols hold first practice in pads
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Josh Smith working his way back
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Kamara thriving in new Tennessee home
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols CB Moseley sidelined by illness

Happy Birthday - March 28

Rocky Top has got two birthdays to celebrate on this March 28. We're sending some 'happy birthday' wishes to football's Thomas Edwards and some more to men's basketball VFL Jordan McRae

After redshirting his true freshman season, Edwards saw his first collegiate action with the Volunteers during the 2014 season. He appeared in two games, making his debut on homecoming against Chattanooga. A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Edwards played prep football at Dobyns-Bennett High School where he was named first team All-Big Eight Conference. He is 20 years old today.

A four-year letterwinner for Vol Basketball, McRae donned the Orange and White from 2010-14. As a senior in 2014, he started all 32 games and averaged a career-best 18.7 points per contest. He shot 43.6 percent from the field, including a 35.1 mark from beyond the arc. He closed out his career ranked 16th on Tennessee's all-time scoring list (1,521 points) and seventh on the all-time list for 3-pointers made (179). He was selected in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs and was traded to Philadelphia later that night. After a stint in Australia with Melbourne United, McRae returned to the U.S. after being acquired by the Delaware 87ers of the D-League. Just last week, he recorded career-highs with 39 points and 13 boards against the Oklahoma City Blue.

Happy birthday Thomas and Jordan!

Happy Birthday - March 27

We've got a quintet of birthdays to celebrate on this March 27! We're wishing a happy birthday to men's tennis freshman Jess Jones and incoming football freshman Preston Williams, not to mention VFLs Justin Coleman (football), Jonathan Wade (football, track and field), and Chris Lofton (men's basketball). 

During his first season with the Tennessee men's tennis program, Jones holds a singles record of 8-7 and a doubles mark of 2-2. The Warner Robins, Georgia, native opened his collegiate career with a ranked victory when he defeated No. 94 Alex Arovin of Tennessee Tech (6-1, 6-2) in the opening round of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. Jones turns 19 years old today. 

A five-star wide receiver from Hampton, Georgia, Williams became one of the newest members of Team 119 back on National Signing Day in February. He played his prep career at Lovejoy High School, where he was named first team All-State and earned an invitation to the 2015 Under Armour All-Star Game. He had 43 catches for 916 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior despite missing a portion of the year with a knee injury. Williams is 18 years old today. 

From one of our newest Vols to one of our newest VFLs, defensive back Coleman wrapped up his UT career last fall with 157 career tackles and five career interceptions. Coleman was recently invited to the 2015 NFL Combine, where he recorded the fastest 3-cone drill time of any participant (6.61). He was also third among cornerbacks in both the bench press (20 reps) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.21). Today Coleman celebrates his 22nd birthday.

A defensive back for Vol football from 2002-06, Wade also starred on the track and field team, making his mark in the outdoor relays. His 4x100-meter relay team in 2003 recorded the program's second-fastest time in the event all-time. On the football field, he earned All-SEC honors in 2006 after leading Tennessee in pass deflections and interceptions. Wade was the 84th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, taken by the St. Louis Rams. He is 31 years old today. 

One of Tennessee Basketball's all-time greats, Lofton was the 2007 SEC Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game. That year, he led the Volunteers to the Sweet 16 and was named a second team All-American. As a senior in 2007-08, Lofton passed Allan Houston to become UT's career-leader in three-pointers made, and not long after that, passed Pat Bradley of Arkansas to capture the record for most career treys all-time in the SEC. Following his collegiate career, Lofton went on to play professionally in Turkey, Spain, and Russia. He is currently under contract with Besiktas -- a Turkish team based out of Istanbul.

Happy birthday Jess, Preston, Justin, Jonathan, and Chris!

Chiefs GM: Berry Going To Conquer It

Image result for Eric Berry chiefs smile
Kevin Patra of NFL.com wrote an article on Wednesday detailing a SiriusXM interview with Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, who said that he has spoken to safety Eric Berry, and he is doing well. 

Here is the piece: 

Eric Berry's battle with Hodgkin lymphoma is going well, according to Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey.

"Well, anybody who knows Eric Berry knows that if there's a challenge presented to him, he will attack it with a vengeance," Dorsey told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "And he will do that. Everything that I have gotten back has been very positive. I have not spoken with him on the phone for probably six weeks, but I have texts. We communicated through texts. He's in good spirits, he's fine, he's driving, and he's going to conquer it."

Dorsey added that Berry is able to drive again, per host Alex Marvez.

The 26-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December and while it's a treatable disease, his promising NFL career has been put on the back burner.

The general manager didn't give any football update on the safety, but that isn't a surprise. Berry's battle lies off the field and he has the clear support of the Chiefs franchise, which did not cut him this offseason just to save a couple of dollars.

Also, the Kansas City Star has this story: Chiefs say safety Eric Berry is positive about his recovery from cancer

Happy Birthday - March 26

It's March 26 and we've got some 'happy birthday' wishes to a pair of UT freshman: David Heron of swimming and diving and Igor Smelyanski of men's tennis!

A redshirt freshman from Mission Viejo, California, Heron already ranks second all-time at UT in both the 1000-yard freestyle (9:04.34) and the 1650. In just his very first race of the 2014-15 season, he broke UNC Wilmington's 19-year-old-pool record by swimming a 9:11.21 in the 1000 Free. Heron is slated to compete this week in the 500 Free and 1650 Free at the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships in Iowa City, Iowa. His 500 prelim begins today (Thursday) at 12 p.m. ET with finals slated for tonight beginning at 8 p.m. Today is Heron's 20th birthday.

David Heron

Smelyanski, a native of Beer Yaaqov, Israel, is in the midst of his true freshman season with the men's tennis program at UT. Thus far he owns a singles record of 10-8 and a doubles mark of 10-5 -- a record that includes the 2014 Southern Intercollegiate Championship with teammate Andrew Dromsky. Before arriving on Rocky Top, Smelyanski achieved a career-high ATP ranking of 721 in singles and 808 in doubles. Those marks gave the Vols three active players with a tour ranking inside the top 900 to begin the year. He is 20 years old today. 

Igor Smelyanski

Happy birthday, David and Igor!

Thursday's Tennessee Football Briefing (3/26/15)

Tennessee held its annual NFL Pro Day on Wednesday. Check out coverage: #VolReport: Vols Hold NFL Pro Day.

Here's a look at media coverage: 
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Coleman tries to carry torch
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Vols Pro Timing Day notes

Parker, Hardesty Named Assistant Coaches at Norfolk State University


NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk State University football coach Latrell Scott announced Wednesday three more additions to his coaching staff: quarterbacks coach Aaron Corp, offensive line coach Anthony Parker and running backs coach Montario Hardesty.
Corp comes to NSU from Scott's previous staff at Virginia State, while Parker arrives from a stint at the University of Tennessee and Hardesty from Chowan University. Scott also coached each of the three new additions in college during their highly distinguished playing careers at the Division I level.
Corp was quarterbacks coach last season under Scott at VSU, helping the Trojans finish 10-3 overall en route to the CIAA championship. VSU also advanced to the Division II playoffs for the first-time ever, winning a first-round game before falling in the second round. Trojan quarterbacks Tarian Ayres and Niko Johnson combined to pass for 2,270 yards and 15 touchdowns against just five interceptions. The duo also rushed for eight scores under Corp's guidance.
After an acclaimed high school career in Villa Park, Calif., that saw him earn numerous prep All-America accolades, Corp spent three seasons as a quarterback at Southern California (2007-09) before transferring to the University of Richmond for his final two years (2010-11). At USC, he redshirted in 2007 before appearing in five games as a freshman in 2008. He played in three games and started once in 2009 before transferring to Richmond.
At UR, Corp started 16 times in his two seasons. He started five times as a junior before sustaining a season-ending injury. As a senior in 2011, Corp started every game and passed for 2,682 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 63.7 percent of his passes. He set an NCAA FCS single-game record for completion percentage, completing 31-of-34 (91.2 percent) against Towson.
A 2012 NFL Scouting Combine invitee, Corp had brief pro stints with the NFL's Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. He earned his bachelor's degree from UR in interdisciplinary studies in 2012.

"Aaron is an extremely talented young coach," Scott said. "He has a great background and I'm excited about him coaching our quarterbacks."
Parker spent the last two seasons as an offensive quality control assistant at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Prior to his time on staff at UT, Parker served as an offensive graduate assistant at Mississippi State (2011-12) and Morgan State (2009-10). Parker coached on a pair of bowl teams at Mississippi State and helped UT reach the TaxSlayer Bowl after this past season.
Parker had a distinguished playing career for the Volunteers. He was a four-year letterman from 2005-08, playing in 44 career games with 39 starts on the offensive line, predominantly as a guard. He started his sophomore through senior seasons. Parker was a second-team Associated Press All-American as a junior in 2007. He also earned first-team All-SEC honors from both the league coaches and AP that year while helping the Volunteers reach the SEC Championship Game. Parker was also a second-team All-SEC selection as a senior in 2008.
Parker a native of Jonesboro, Ga., earned his bachelor's degree from in political science and sociology from Tennessee in 2008.
"Anthony is a dynamic young coach with a strong pedigree," Scott said. "He will relate will to our players in teaching fundamental football."
Hardesty served as an intern at Chowan last fall under the NFL Players Association internship program. Prior to Chowan, Hardesty had a successful career at UT that culminated in his selection by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Hardesty played at Tennessee from 2005-09. He rushed for 2,391 yards in his career, including 1,345 in All-SEC second-team campaign as a senior in 2009. Hardesty ranked fourth in the SEC and had the fourth-best season in terms of rushing yardage in school history that year, when he also scored 14 total touchdowns (13 rushing, one receiving).
Hardesty was drafted by Cleveland in 2010 and spent four seasons with the team. Injuries sidelined him for the 2010 and '13 seasons. He played in 23 games with the Browns in 2011 and 2012, compiling 537 rushing yards, 138 receiving yards and one touchdown.
A native of New Bern, N.C., Hardesty earned his bachelor's degree in sports management from Tennessee in 2009.
"Montario is another excellent young coach who brings a strong background to our program," Scott said. "His experience as a collegiate and pro player will also be beneficial for our players."

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