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Saturday's Tennessee Football Briefing (2/14/15)



Get the latest from Mike DeBord's introductory press conference as the Vols' new offensive coordinator met with the media on Friday for the first time since being hired on Rocky Top. 

Coverage from UTSports.com includes: 


Here's what the media wrote: 
- Chattanooga Times Free Press: DeBord to 'enhance' familiar system with Vols
- Knoxville News Sentinel: DeBord gets second chance at UT
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Jones: DeBord a perfect fit for Vols
- Knoxville News Sentinel: Mike DeBord introduced at Tennessee

Happy Birthday - Feb. 13

Wishing a happy birthday today to football VFL Charlie Garner III and former Tennessee softball All-American Kristi Durant!

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. 

Kristi Durant Kristi Durant

Happy birthday, Charlie and Kristi!


Happy Birthday - Feb. 12

We've got three Big Orange birthdays to celebrate today! Sending out special birthday wishes to current track and field student-athlete Felecia Majors, as well as VFLs Inky Johnson (football) and Chessey Thomas (women's golf)!

A sophomore from Lorton, Virginia, Felecia Majors is coming off a freshman season in which she earned All-America honors in both the 200 meters and 400 meters during the indoor season. She is UT's current freshman record-holder in the 400 meters with a time of 52.65. In the outdoor season, Majors earned three top-20 finishes at her first SEC Outdoor Championships. The 2015 indoor season has seen Majors compete in the 60-meter dash, 200 meters, 300 meters, 400 meters, 500 meters, and long jump, not to mention the 4x400-meter relay and distance medley relay. Majors turns 20 years old today.

 Felecia Majors

A 2013 SEC Football Legend, Inky Johnson played in 23 games for Tennessee at defensive back before his promising career was cut short by injury. He finished his career with 41 tackles, one sack, one interception, and 10 pass breakups. Using his story of overcoming adversity, Johnson has become a mentor and regarded public speaker for underprivileged youth in both Knoxville and his hometown of Atlanta. 



Chessey Thomas graduated from the Tennessee women's golf program last year and concluded her career ranked eighth on the Lady Vols' all-time career low average list (75.15). She notched one tournament victory while on Rocky Top, taking the Lady Bulldog Individual on Feb. 8, 2014. For her career, Thomas posted 21 rounds of par or better, four top-10 finishes, and a career-low round of 66. 

Chessey Thomas

Happy birthday to Felecia, Inky, and Chessey!

John Jancek Talks Vols On Sports Radio WNML


Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek was a special guest on Sports Radio WNML on Wednesday afternoon. He spoke about the team's recruiting class, which includes his son quarterback Zac, the team's stout defensive line and what to expect in spring football. 

LISTEN HERE: John Jancek.

The Knoxville News Sentinel also broke down the interview in this story in Thursday's paper: Vols' John Jancek excited about 2015 class

Mel Kiper Jr. Praises Vols On SEC Network

Check out what ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about the 2015 edition of the Tennessee Vols as he was a guest on Finebaum on the SEC Network on Wednesday. 

Happy Birthday - Feb. 11

Four -- count 'em -- four VFL birthdays to celebrate on this 11th day of February! Decorated volleyball alumna DeeDee Harrison, football great Jabari Greer, men's basketball alumus Dyron Nix, and former soccer goalkeeper Jessica Rolfs will all be blowing out the candles today.

A native of Nashville, Harrison was a stellar middle blocker for the Tennessee volleyball program, earning All-America status in 2011. The 2012 graduate is UT's career leader blocks per set (1.21) and ranks second in career blocks (161) in the 25-point rally scoring era. She currently plays professionally in Israel for Maccabi Even Yehuda. 



Former Vol football defensive back Jabari Greer was born on Feb. 11, 1982. After a 10-year NFL career spent with the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, Greer retired from professional football this fall. He started 51 games in the Tennessee secondary during his time on Rocky Top, tallying 147 tackles and two interceptions. He was also a standout track and field athlete who qualified for the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 110m hurdles. Greer currently ranks third all-time in the event (13.32). 



We also celebrate the birthday of former Tennessee basketball player Dyron Nix -- a member of the Vols All-Century team. Nix led the SEC in scoring as a junior in 1987-88, putting up 22.2 points per game. For his career at UT, Nix averaged 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest and his 1,877 career points are the eighth-most in school history. He was drafted 29th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in 1989, but embarked on a 10-year career overseas. Nix passed away on Dec. 16, 2013 at the age of 46.



Today is also the 24th birthday of former goalkeeper Jessica Rolfs. The 2013 graduate battled through two season-ending injuries during her career on Rocky Top, making her first career start on Senior Night.


VFL Aubrayo Franklin Joins 49ers Coaching Staff


Former Tennessee defensive lineman and longtime NFL player Aubrayo Franklin has joined the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff as a defensive assistant. Franklin's hiring was officially announced by the club on Monday: Aubrayo Franklin Returns to 49ers as Assistant Coach.

Franklin spent 11 years in the NFL with the 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts. 

While playing for the 49ers, Franklin's position coach was none other than his new boss, Jim Tomsula. Franklin experienced his most productive season as a player stat-wise under Tomsula in 2009, when he tallied 36 tackles, three pass deflections, two sacks and one interception.

Happy Birthday - Feb. 10

On this 10th day of February we celebrate a pair of football birthdays on Rocky Top: one belonging to a young man gearing up for his senior stint in the Orange and White and another for one of our newest Vols. 

Coming off his redshirt junior season, tight end Alex Ellis turns 22 years old today. Ellis appeared in all 13 games for UT last season, making six catches for 115 yards, including a stretch of at least one in five straight games from Oct. 19-Nov. 22. The Del Mar, Delaware, native hauled in the first touchdown grab of his career in memorable fashion when he took a 31-yard pass from holder Patrick Ashford into the end zone (and nearly into the stands) on a fake field goal versus No. 19 Missouri on Nov. 22. 

Also celebrating a birthday today is one of the newest members of Team 119: incoming freshman Micah Abernathy. A 6-0 defensive back from Atlanta, the four-star recruit will join the Vols next fall from Greater Atlanta Christian School. Playing both cornerback and tailback in high school, Abernathy was the leading rusher in Gwinnett County in 2014 with 1,526 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, earning him 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Offensive Player of the Year honors. Micah turns 18 years old today. 

Happy BIG ORANGE birthday to both Alex and Micah!

Alex Ellis 

Happy Birthday - Feb. 8

On Feb. 8, we're wishing a happy birthday to Chad Merzbacher of men's golf! A junior from Dublin, Ohio, Chad has recorded five top-10 finishes in in 21 career tournaments for the Volunteers. He competed in all five tournaments during UT's fall season, posting a team-best scoring average of 70.93 with nine rounds of par or better. Chad is 21 years old today. 

A trio of VFLs are also celebrating birthdays today. We start by extending birthday wishes to Track & Field alumnus Chase Brannon! Chase was a two-time USTFCCCA All-American in the pole vault, earning the honor after both the indoor and outdoor seasons of 2012. He completed his eligibility in 2014 and turns 24 years old today. 

Last but not least we wish a very happy birthday to the McKenzie brothers, Raleigh and Reggie! These two football VFLs are twin brothers who starred for the Vols in the early 1980s. Knoxville natives and Austin-East High School graduates, Reggie plyaed in 43 games during his time on Rocky Top, accumulating 174 tackles and four sacks before going on to play in the NFL from 1985-1992. Raleigh played three years for the Vols from 1982-84 as a center before moving on to the NFL and playing for Washington from 1985-94.

Reggie is the currently the general manager of the Oakland Raiders while Raleigh serves as a scout. Reggie's son, Kahlil, became one of the newest members of the Tennessee Football family during National Signing Day on Wednesday. 

Happy birthday Chad, Chase, Raleigh, and Reggie!

Chad Merzbacher   Chase Brannon

Happy Birthday - Feb. 7

On Feb.7, we have two Big Orange birthdays to celebrate here on Rocky Top. One 'happy birthday' goes out to one of the newest members of the Tennessee family, while the other goes to a decorated VFL. 

First off, we wish a very happy birthday to Tennessee football's new offensive coordinator, Mike DeBord! A 30-year coaching veteran on the offensive side of the ball, DeBord comes to the Volunteers following five seasons in the NFL and 12 more at the University of Michigan. For more information on DeBord's hiring, click here

Born Feb. 7, 1956, DeBord is celebrating his 59th birthday today. 

Our second batch of birthday wishes goes out to Lady Vol Basketball alumna and current women's basketball head coach at Alabama A&M, Semeka Randall! Randall helped the Lady Vols win the 1998 NCAA Championship in a season where UT finished with a perfect 39-0 record. She was a member of "The Meeks" alongside Lady Vol stars Tamika Catchings and Chamique Holdsclaw and was a two-time All-American who went on to play in the WNBA. Following the completion of her playing career, Randall became an assistant coach at Cleveland State. Stops at Michigan State and West Virginia followed before Randall took her first head coaching job at Ohio University. She was hired by Alabama A&M in May of 2013. 

Today is Randall's 36th birthday. 

Join us in wishing Mike DeBord and Semeka Randall a very happy birthday!

  


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