April 23, 2010
For a player who learned the value of patience during his Tennessee career, Montario Hardesty didn't have to wait long to come off the board in this year's NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns took Hardesty with the 59th overall pick Friday night in the second round, a round earlier than most projected.
An exceptional senior season no doubt helped pave the way for his climb up draft boards.
Hardesty rushed for 1,345 yards - a mark that ranks fourth in school history - last season in his only season as the Vols' full-time starter at running back.
Hardesty was the only Tennessee player selected during Friday's second round. Safety Eric Berry (No. 5 overall) and defensive tackle Dan Williams (No. 26 overall) were taken in Thursday's first round.
Last year, defensive end Robert Ayers was the only UT player taken, although he was the No. 18 overall pick.
Tennessee is the only SEC school to produce a first-round pick in each of the last five seasons among SEC schools.
The draft concludes Saturday with the final four rounds, beginning at 10 a.m.
Numbers Game: Berry and Williams both have some pretty neat plans for their jersey numbers at the next level.
Berry, who as a defensive back can't wear the No. 14 like he did at Tennessee, plans to wear No. 29 with the Kansas City Chiefs in honor of former Vols defensive back Inky Johnson.
Johnson spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant after his playing career was cut short with a traumatic shoulder injury in 2006.
Williams, meanwhile, plans to wear No. 92 -- a number made famous by former Vols defensive lineman and NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White.
"I didn't get a chance to have that number at Tennessee, so if I could get it here in Arizona, I'm loving it," Williams told the Arizona Cardinals' official website, AZCardinals.com.