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Happy Birthday - June 9

On June 9, we're celebrating the birthdays of baseball's Zach Warren, women's swimmer Madison Hahn, and football VFL Craig Colquitt!



Warren, a left-handed pitcher, recently completed his freshman season on Rocky Top. The Vineland, New Jersey, native went 2-0 in his first season, appearing in eight games and getting five starts along the way. He finished the year with 16 strikeouts and a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings pitched. Born this day in 1996, Warren is 19 years old.



A rising senior out of Norfolk, Virginia, Hahn made a pair of individual finals at the SEC Championships in the spring, finishing in a tie for 13th in the 100 backstroke (53.69) and 21st in the 200 backstroke (1:57.17). She picked up a win in the 100 backstroke earlier in the season, swimming 53.58 to take gold at the Nike Cup. A three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Hahn is 21 years old today.



June 9 is also the birthday of Knoxville native and two-time Super Bowl champion Craig Colquitt. Father of current NFL punters and former Vols Dustin and Britton Colquitt, craig played for the Vols from 1975-77 before being drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the NFL Draft. He would go on to win a pair of Super Bowls with the franchise and was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Hall of Fame in 2009.

Happy birthday Zach, Madison, and Craig!


Barnett Named SEC's Top Pass Rusher By 247Sports


247Sports has named Derek Barnett as the Top Pass Rusher in the SEC. Here's what they wrote:  
1. Derek Barnett, Tennessee 2014 stats: 10 sacks, 8 quarterback hurries

 Barnett burst onto the scene as a true freshman last season with 10 sacks and an amazing 20.5 tackles for loss. He only started 10 games, so he should have more opportunities to make plays in his sophomore season. Barnett is expected to be stronger than ever after having an injured shoulder repaired. Barnett arrived on campus last summer, and still hasn't been through a spring practice. But his experience in the program - and improved talent around him - should allow him to be more productive than he was last season. As good as he was a year ago, the Tennessee staff has repeatedly said he can get much better. He only had one sack through six games, then got three apiece against Ole Miss and South Carolina in the second half of the season. He got better as the year progressed, and his 18 tackles for loss in SEC play were six more than anyone else in the league. Also, all 10 of his sacks came in conference games. Maggitt may have had more sacks last season, and he may have a higher number this season because of double teams, but Barnett is the one that offensive linemen won't want to face because of his motor and physicality.

The Vols' Curt Maggitt is #4 on the list 


4. Curt Maggitt, Tennessee 2014 stats: 11 sacks, 5 quarterback hurries

 Maggitt has battle injuries and played different positions since his arrival at Tennessee, but he emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the conference last season. He was tied for second in the SEC with 11 sacks a year ago, and he added five quarterback hurries. With star sophomore Derek Barnett attacking the passer on the other side, it really opens things up for Maggitt to pin his ears back and get to the quarterback. One thing that will help this season is the improved talent around him on the Vols defense. Opponents will have more than Maggitt and Barnett to worry about this season.

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!





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: 


Happy Birthday - May 20

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)

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

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)

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

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