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!
After a 2014 season that included a TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa, senior defensive lineman Williams concluded his career on Rocky Top. He started all 13 games during his final season, registering 27 tackles (four for loss) with two sacks and four pass break-ups. He had a career-high six tackles, including a sack, on Senior Night vs. No. 19 Missouri. He finishes his career with 66 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss. Williams was also a member of the 2013 and 2014 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Bonds redshirted the 2014-15 men's basketball season. The 6-1 guard played prep ball at Christ Presbyterian Academy under head coach Drew Maddux. He helped lead the team to a pair of state championships in 2012 and 2013 and was rated the No. 8 overall prospect in the state of Tennessee. During his senior season, he averaged 15.3 points and 7.8 assists per contest. Nephew of former MLB slugger Barry Bonds, Braxton Bonds turns 20 years old today.
Allen was a redshirt sophomore for Tennessee soccer this past fall, appearing in 16 matches for UT at defender. She notched one goal and two assists on the year -- scoring on a free kick during her first start against Tulsa in early September. She also successfully converted a penalty in a shootout against No. 8 Florida in the SEC Tournament. In all, Allen logged 833 minutes of action last season. Born this day in 1993, Allen turns 22 years old today.
VFL Pickens played wideout at UT from 1989-91, amassing 1,875 career receiving yards over those three seasons. As a junior in 1991, he caught 49 balls for 877 yards and five touchdowns, earning All-America recognition after leading the SEC in yards per game at 79.73. As a freshman, Pickens played both ways and had four interceptions in four games at free safety. He was even named the Defensive MVP of the 1990 Cotton Bowl. He opted to bypass his senior season on Rocky Top to enter the NFL Draft where was picked 31st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1992 and in 1995 set the Bengals single-season record for receptions (99) and touchdown receptions (17).
It's birthday time in Tennessee and we've got three of them to celebrate on this second Monday in March. Football's Pig Howard turns 22 years old today and will be celebrating his birthday alongside two Tennessee legends: Rudy Klarer and Ron Widby.
Howard recently wrapped up his junior season for the Vols, appearing in all 13 games and making nine starts at the wideout position. He led the team in receptions (54) and in receiving yards (618) and scored three touchdowns -- two rushing and one receiving. He owns a current streak of 33 consecutive games with a catch and his 111 career catches rank 13th all-time at UT.
One of Tennessee football's eight retired jerseys belong to the legendary Klarer, who played guard at UT in 1941-42. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Klarer lost his life fighting for the United States in World War II. His number, alongside those of Bill Nowling, Willis Tucker, and Ron Fuson -- other Vols who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country during WWII -- was officially retired in 2006.
Tennessee legend Ron Widby turns 70 years old today. He is the last four-sport letterman in UT history, earning All-American status in both football and basketball as well as one letter in baseball and golf. During his senior year in 1966-67, Widby led nation in punting average at 43.8 yards per kick and went on to average 22.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in basketball to help lead the Vols to a conference title. He was first team All-America in both sports and picked up an SEC Player of the Year award in basketball.
``Some people say that I need to take a break and relax a little bit, but basketball is all that I know. This is what I've grown up doing and when I call my mother and my father, they talk to me about the game. It's just embedded in me and it's pretty much all I care about.'' - VFL Tobias Harris
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!
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.
Tennessee hosts Mississippi State tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.
Through 11 home games this season, Tennessee is holding its opponents to just 59.2 points per game. The Vols are 8-1 when its opponent scores fewer than 60. A win would give the Vols a 6-3 SEC record halfway through league play. Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the final league standings.
Tennessee basketball hits the road tonight, looking for its first 4-0 SEC road start since 1982 as the Volunteers face Arkansas in Fayetteville at 9 p.m. ET.
Tennessee has won eight of its last 10 games, including three straight on the road. Junior guard Kevin Punter is shooting .692 from 3-point range over the last three games (9-of-13). Sophomore Robert Hubbs III has averaged 9.2 ppg in the last nine games after averaging just 3.0 ppg through UT's first nine.
You can see the game on ESPNU or watch live online HERE.
Tennessee freshman Tariq Owens and his new experiences adjusting to the life of SEC basketball were featured in today's Baltimore Sun. Owens, who hails from Odenton, Md., came to the Vols after spending a year at Mt. Zion Prep in Baltimore.