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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

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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!





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)

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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: 


Happy Birthday - May 20

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On May 20 we're wishing a happy birthday to Megan Geer of softball as well as VFLs Justin Hunter of football and Josh Bone of men's basketball!



A sophomore from Los Alamitos, California, Geer has started all 117 games of her collegiate career. Following a true freshman season that saw her earn Freshman All-SEC honors, Geer is batting .320 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in her second season on Rocky Top. Geer and the Lady Vols host Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regionals against Florida State tomorrow night at 7 p.m. ET.



Now a wide receiver with the Tennessee Titans, Hunter played wideout for Tennessee from 2010-12, racking up 1,812 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Hunter finished his junior season ranked third in the SEC in receiving yards (1,083) and was named to the All-SEC second team. Hunter also competed for the track and field team while on Rocky Top and currently stands as the No. 7 long jumper in program history.



Bone played guard as a member of Tennessee's 2010 Elite Eight team after transferring from Southern Illinois and logged 12 minutes in UT's historic Sweet Sixteen win over fifth-ranked Ohio State. During his senior year in 2010-11, Bone appeared in 23 games and received the starting nod three times. He averaged 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 17.8 minutes per game that season. 

Happy birthday Megan, Justin, and Josh!



Tuesday's Tennessee Football Briefing (5/19/15)

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The Big Orange Caravan rolled into the Tri-Cities area on Monday night as Butch Jones and company returned to the Bristol Motor Speedway. It's 479 days until the Battle At Bristol on Sept. 10, 2016, get the latest from our Brian Rice: Vols Caravan Paints Bristol Orange



Coverage from the media includes: 

- Knoxville News Sentinel: Jones says players ready to 'go to work'
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Battle at Bristol becoming more real
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Mosley 'going to be an offensive lineman'
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee 'still waiting' on DT Saulsberry




Worley In Rookie Mini-Camp With Saints

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A week after going through rookie mini-camp with the Cleveland Browns, former Vols quarterback Justin Worley is in New Orleans Saints rookie mini-camp. 

Thursday's Tennessee Football Briefing (5/14/15)

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The Big Orange Caravan rolled into Chattanooga on Thursday as Butch Jones and company met up with another sellout crowd at The Chattanoogan. Check UTSports.com: Chattanooga Shows Its Orange on BOC

Here's what Jones had to say to the media: 


Coverage from the media includes: 
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Big Orange Caravan rolls into Chattanooga
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Barnes spending time with fans
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Spring Wrap: Wide receivers

Athlon Sports revealed its preseason Top 25 and has the Vols at #22: Tennessee Volunteers Preview

Butch Jones On SEC Teleconference

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Tennessee head coach Butch Jones addressed the media as part of the SEC teleconference on Wednesday morning. Jones spoke about a variety of topics giving an overview of Team 119's spring camp. 

"We do have a lot of positive momentum," Jones said. "I think our players have fed off that. They've been extremely focused.  Their capacity for work, their mental effort, their mental intensity, I thought they brought it each and every day. That's what you want. You want the expectations because this is a very proud football program. We also understand we have a long, long ways to go in the development of our program."

Coverage from the media includes the following: 

- Chattanooga Times Free Press: Butch Jones says freshman Shy Tuttle 'started to get it' late in spring practice

- Knoxville News Sentinel: Jones: Vols have 'a lot of positive momentum'

Happy Birthday - May 13

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On May 13 we're celebrating a trio of birthdays on Rocky Top: we're wishing a happy birthday to football's Derrick Brodus, Brittany Lindl of women's tennis, and to VFL Samuel Rairden of men's swimming and diving.



Brodus spent four seasons with Vol Football as a placekicker, wrapping up his collegiate career following the 2014 season. He was a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and won the Lou Groza Star of the Week Award on Sept. 24, 2011. He was the protagonist of one of the amazing stories coming out of Rocky Top in 2011 when the walk-on was plucked from his couch less than an hour before the start of a game against Middle Tennessee and rushed to Neyland Stadium by police escort. He went on to start his first collegiate game, connecting on a 21-yard field goal and three PATs. Born this day in 1992, Brodus is 23 years old today.



A native of Panama City, Florida, Lindl recently concluded her sophomore stint with Lady Vol Tennis. To this point, she owns a career singles record of 24-21, including her first-ever win over a ranked opponent when she defeated No. 63 Beatrice Gumulya of Clemson 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the 2014-15 season opener. Upon arriving on Rocky Top, Lindl was ranked as the No. 16 women's tennis recruit in the country and had a five-star rating. She is 20 years old today.



Rairden competed for Vol Swimming and Diving from 2010-14, collecting 13 All-America certificates and 12 SEC Medals to make him one of the most successful swimmers in UT history. He ranks inside the top three of the all-time Tennessee performance list in four individual events, including the 100-meter butterfly in which his time of 45.92 still stands as the program record in the event. That time earned him a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly at the 2014 SEC Championships. Rairden turns 24 years old today.

Happy birthday Derrick, Brittany, and Sam!




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