April 12, 2014
By Alex Cate KNOXVILLE, Tenn.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- When Al Wilson roamed the field from 1995 to 1998 he was an undisputed leader. Team captain in 1998, Wilson was Tennessee's only All-American on that year's national championship team.
At the halftime of Saturday's Orange and White game, Tennessee introduced a new award: The Al Wilson Leadership Award.
The award recognizes the spring's most influential leader on the team. This year, junior linebacker Curt Maggitt was the first recipient of the award for his influence and leadership within Team 118.
"Curt Maggitt is a guy who's had a lot of adversity over the last year," said Wilson. "To see him back moving around and being strong, being the leader, it's going to be fun to watch these guys play this year," said Wilson who was on the field to present the award.
Wilson added that he was excited when head coach Butch Jones called him to give him the good news.
"It's a great honor to have," said Wilson. "To be part of Tennessee is something that's hard to describe. I never even imagined so when Butch called and told me about it, I'm just honored."
Maggitt was humbled by the acknowledgment. Many members of Team 118 see him as the undisputed team leader similar to when Wilson was playing. Now Maggitt gets to see his name next to Wilson's after winning the award.
After impressive freshmen and sophomore seasons, Maggitt was held out of competition in 2013 due to an injury. Still he continued to lead from the sideline and was constantly seen encouraging his teammates and rousing the crowd.
"I'm definitely excited with it being the first annual and it's Al Wilson for sure," Maggitt said. "It's monumental. I know I'm a decent leader but I know I can get a lot better and I talk to Coach Jones all the time and try and figure out how I can become a better leader and I think I can pick up my communication and my relationship with Al Wilson to become a better leader and help lead the team."