We have a pair of VFL birthdays to celebrate on this February 24th as we send 'happy birthday' wishes to former football placekicker Fuad Reveiz and former baseball infielder Taylor Smart!
Reveiz, who went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, was born in Bogota, Colombia, before his family relocated to Miami, Florida. He was signed to kick at the University of Tennessee by legendary coach Johnny Majors and kicked for the Vols from 1981-84. As a sophomore, Reveiz turned his best season. He went 27-of-31 on field goal tries and connected on a school-record 60-yarder against Georgia Tech.
Smart graduated from Tennessee baseball last spring after two seasons in the Orange and White. As a senior, he played in 53 of 54 games for UT, starting 50 at third base and two at shortstop. For his career, Smart hit .280 with six home runs, and even 100 hits, and 48 RBIs. He was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 26th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Feb. 23 is the birthday of former Vols middle linebacker and current New England Patriot Jerod Mayo!
Mayo spent 2004-07 at the University of Tennessee, playing his final season in 2007 at the middle linebacker position. Starting all 14 games that season, Mayo tallied 140 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and notched a pick-six along the way. He went on to be drafted 10th overall by the New England Patriots in the 2008 NFL Draft and earned AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after posting 128 tackles, 100 of them solo. He has since been named to two Pro Bowls and appeared in Super Bowl XLVI.
Mayo is 29 years old today. Happy birthday, Jerod!
Entering the final week of February, we are wishing a happy birthday to football VFL Rashad Baker and freshman rower Danielle Dami!
Baker was originally recruited as a wide receiver, but made the switch to free safety in the fourth game of his freshman season. He played out the remainder of his Volunteer career -- from 2000-03 -- in that position, earning first team All-SEC honors in 2001 and a second-team selection in 2002. After tallying 233 tackles, 11 interceptions, and and 24 pass deflections at Tennessee, he went on to play six seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and Oakland Raiders.
We're also sending "happy birthday" wishes to freshman Dami who is in the midst of her first season with Tennessee Rowing. A native of Grayling, Michigan, Dami is a member of the novice squad this season and is majoring in environmental studies. She turns 20 years old today.
Three weeks into February and we have two Big Orange birthdays to celebrate! We're wishing a happy birthday to football assistant head coach for defense and defensive backs Willie Martinez as well as to soccer sophomore Colleen Gawkins.
Martinez is entering his third season with Tennessee Football and in 2014 he coached a Volunteer secondary that had 16 interceptions to rank 15th in the NCAA. In his first season at UT, he helped orchestrate a memorable defensive feat against Western Kentucky when the UT defense forced five turnovers over six plays, including back-to-back pick-6s from Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton.
During her freshman season in the Orange and White, Gawkins earned minutes in 20 matches while tallying 11 shots and two on goal. The Haymarket, Virginia, native arrived in Knoxville last summer following a senior season at Battlefield High School in which she led the team to a 6A state title and unblemished 23-0 record. She was a 2014 NSCAA High School Girls Soccer All-American and a two-time NSCAA All-Region first team selection.
We've got three Big Orange birthdays on Rocky Top on this third Friday of February, as current student-athletes Brueck Ball (rowing) and Brodie Leftridge (baseball) celebrate their respective birthdays, as does baseball VFL Julio Borbon.
A sophomore from Nashville, Ball is in her second season with Tennessee rowing and first as a varsity squad member. She turns 20 years old today.
A true freshman from Baltimore, Maryland, outfielder Leftridge is gearing up for his first season with Vol Baseball. He was ranked a top-50 outfielder coming out of St. John's Catholic Prep and was the No. 4 prospect out of the state of Maryland. Leftridge turns 19 years old today.
VFL Julio Borbon, now with the Baltimore Orioles organization, helped Tennessee reach the College World Series in 2005. He ranked third on that team with a .350 batting average -- the fifth-best batting average for a freshman in Tennessee history. He went on to lead UT with a .366 batting average in 2006 and posted a .345 batting average in 2007 -- his final season on Rocky Top.
A four-star quarterback out of Boerne, Texas, Dormady arrives on Rocky Top after totalling nearly 6,000 passing yards and 59 touchdown passes in two varsity seasons at Beorne H.S. As a senior, Dormady threw for 2,893 yards and 32 touchdowns en route to leading the Greyhounds to an 8-3 record and a berth in the playoffs. He turns 19 years old today.
A 2010 graduate from the University of Tennessee, Whoriskey recorded 92 singles victories and 113 doubles wins over her career at UT. She was a three-time All-SEC selection, an All-American as a junior in 2008-09, and advanced to the final of of the 2010 NCAA Doubles Championship with teammate Natalie Pluskota.
Two legendary birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top today as we focus on two great contributors to the storied history of Tennessee football: General Robert Neyland and Stanley Morgan.
Born February 17, 1892, General Neyland is largely recognized as the man that brought Vols football to national prominence. In 2012, 50 years after his passing, Tennessee honored his legacy with 50 Facts on 50th Anniversary, detailing the incredible life lived by General Neyland and his service not only to the University of Tennessee, but also to his country.
Today is also the 60th birthday for legendary Vol and NFL receiver Stanley Morgan. A native of Easley, South Carolina, Morgan played at UT from 1973-76, racking up 4,642 all-purpose yards -- still the Tennessee record. He went on to enjoy a successful NFL career with the New England Patriots, appearing in four pro bowls and setting the franchise record for receiving yards at 10,352.
Happy birthday, General Neyland and Stanley Morgan!
Also, for the basketball junkies in our midst, today just happens to be Michael Jordan's 53rd birthday. Which reminds us, there's a pretty big basketball game taking place at Thompson-Boling Arena this evening ...
Today we're sending out happy birthday wishes to former softball standout, Ivy Renfroe!
Renfroe was a star in the circle for UT from 2010-13, finishing her career with a record of 97-24. She recorded 737 strikeouts while on Rocky Top, notching 29 career shutouts and five no-hitters along the way. The Jackson, Tennessee, native was a second-team NFCA All-South Region pick in 2010, as well as a member of the SEC All-Freshman team. Upon the conclusion of her career, she ranked second in school history in appearances (176) and wins (97). She was third in career innings pitched (749.2) and strikeouts (737).
We've got three birthdays to celebrate on Rocky Top today as football newcomer Andrew Butcher, track and field's Amirah Johnson, and men's basketball VFL Tony F. White will all be blowing out the candles on February 15.
A four-star prospect at defensive end, Butcher is an early enrollee at Tennessee and has been on campus since January. Butcher is a native of Alpharetta, Georgia, and piled up 167 tackles and 23.5 sacks during his prep career. As a senior, he led Alpharetta H.S. to a region championship and a 10-2 record, recording a team-best 89 tackles and 18 sacks along the way. Butcher is 18 years old today.
A cross country and outdoor track and field senior, Johnson recently recorded a new career-best in the indoor 1000 meters (2:56.14). She has been a staple for the Volunteers in all three seasons of the track and field year: cross country, indoor, and outdoor. This fall she wrapped up her cross country career, finishing third on the team in five of her six races on the season. Today is Johnson's 22nd birthday.
VFL White played basketball at Tennessee from 1983-87 before being selected by the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the 1987 NBA draft. He went on to split time with the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors before seeing out the remainder of his playing career overseas. White's most memorable performance in the Orange and White came on Feb. 14, 1987 when he scored 51 points in leading the Vols past Auburn 103-84. That mark still stands as UT's single-game scoring record.
Happy Big Orange birthday, Andrew, Amirah, and Tony!
After transferring to Tennessee from Scottsdale Community College, Garner competed on Rocky Top from 1992-93, finishing with 2,089 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns over those two seasons. Garner went on to be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1994 NFL draft and went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers over his 11-year NFL career.
A two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American, Durant was a member of the Lady Vol softball team from 2003-06. She concluded her career at Tennessee with a .388 batting average, including 315 hits and 203 RBIs.