Feb. 11, 2009
Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin announced Wednesday the addition of former Vols footballer Inquoris "Inky" Johnson as a graduate assistant to the defensive coaching staff.
One of the most popular student-athletes in recent Tennessee history, Johnson played defensive back from 2004-06 before suffering a serious shoulder injury that ended his on-field career. But the Atlanta native has stayed close to the program and now has a chance to officially enter the coaching ranks under the new UT regime.
"I like this staff's confidence in the players and their energy," said Johnson, who served as a student coach last season. "The coaches have had a chance to get to know me and I think we have a great deal of respect for one another. It definitely is a blessed opportunity for me."
Kiffin said the staff already is reaping the benefits of Johnson's knowledge.
"He has made a great impression on all of us. To me, Inky is a great resource as a former Vols player. And not only was he a great player, but he is a great example to our current team members."
Johnson played in 23 games during his Vols career, with eight starts. He finished with 10 career pass breakups and intercepted a pass in Tennessee's 2006 season-opening victory over California. One week later, Johnson suffered his shoulder injury late in a win over Air Force and has fought through two long years of rehabilitation. Now, he embarks on a new career path.
"I want to be a coach and I think these guys can help me be a better coach, just like the previous staff did," Johnson said. "Anybody who can help me be a better coach, I'm all for.
"I just love football and I can't wait to get out and watch and coach some of the guys I used to play with. It's just an exciting time. The coaches really are energetic and there's great confidence in our team. Everybody's just excited to see what we can do, and it's going to be a great opportunity for me."