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Vols Jersey Countdown #74

June 18, 2013


Player Spotlight
Jeff Smith
Offensive Line (1992-95)

Jeff Smith anchored Tennessee's offensive line from 1992-95, earning All-SEC first team honors in 1993 and 1995.

Smith played in 44 games for the Vols as Tennessee went 38-10 during his tenure, including a third-place finish in the 1995 AP poll. Smith, who went on to play seven seasons in the NFL, helped James Stewart become UT's then-all-time leading rusher with 2,890 yards (now third).

He wore No. 74 because it's what "Max and Fraiser gave me when I arrived on campus. It will always be special to me because it will be forever a reminder of my time on the hill."

Why I Wore the Number
Richie Gandy
Offensive Line (2002-05)
"I wore #74 as a tribute to my dad, Howard Gandy. My dad was my role model growing up, and one of the biggest reasons I started playing the game of football. He wore 74 during his playing days, and I wanted to show him how much I appreciated all he did for me by wearing the same number during my time at Tennessee."

Why I Wore the Number
Antonio Richardson
Offensive Line (2011-present)
"I wear 74 because my grandma's birthday is on July 4."
Why I Wore the Number
Brian Hunt
Middle Guard (1985-87)

"Number 74 was special to me because Bob Lilly was my childhood hero and idolized him. Lilly played for the Dallas Cowboys and wore 74. I was reared in De Soto, Texas (southwest Dallas county) . . suburb of Dallas.

Every time the Cowboys were on TV my attention was drawn to the mainstay of "The Doomsday Defense". Lilly's greatest assets were his furious pass-rushing skills and his ability to slice plays open with his agility and instincts. He had a distinct stance, the so-called 4-point stance, placing both hands on the field instead of the more usual one, generating greater force when rushing straight ahead. Lilly's agility and quickness helped him score four defensive touchdowns in his career.

Affectionately known as "Mr. Cowboy," his name was the first inscribed in the "Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor", above Texas Stadium and the current Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys had a Bob Lilly Day on November 23, 1975, to honor him and make Lilly the first inductee into The Ring of Honor. Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is the only player to wear #74 in Dallas Cowboys team history.

I wore Number 74 because it was the number I wore from Youth Football until my final days at UT. While I was attending UT, I studied and completed my B.S. in Industrial Engineering. My nickname was "Iron Man" or "Taz" (short for Tasmanian Devil). At the conclusion of spring practice (before 1985 season), I was slated first team defensive line as a noseguard. At the beginning of the 1985 season, I was moved to the offensive line by Coach Majors. I was coached by Phil Fulmer, and I was set at second team left offensive guard behind All-American Harry Galbreath. During the 1985 season, Coach Fulmer had me play in two JV games, one against NE Oklahoma A&M and the other against Tennessee Military Institute for repetition and playing experience. Then, I was required to dress out again for the game on Saturday. In other words, I would play two football games in one week, twice during that season. Halfway through the 1985 season, I was moved back to the defensive line (noseguard) due to the numerous injuries on the defensive line. I played both ways during the Rutgers game of the 1985 season (UT 40, Rutgers 0). My junior year, I led the defensive line in tackles while nursing knee, shoulder and neck injuries. I remained on defense for the duration of my football career. I am a proud member of 1985 SEC Championship team (1986 Sugar Bowl Champions), aka Sugar Vols. I was considered in the late rounds of NFL draft by Seattle Seahawks and a free agent for the New England Patriots. However, after further consultation by a neurologist, I chose not to pursue a professional football career. I went on to have a successful career with the Trane Co. (12 years as a HVAC Commercial Sales Engineer) and I am now semi-retired considering myself a "professional volunteer," pun intended."

Fan Favorite 74s

Tweet @Vol_Football to tell us who your favorite Vol to wear the No. 74 is!


 

 

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