July 26, 2011
KNOXVILLE - The NFL lockout ended Monday and less than 24 hours later, so did the waiting game for five former Vols. Chad Cunningham (Tennessee Titans), Nick Reveiz (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jarrod Shaw (Cleveland Browns), LaMarcus Thompson (Atlanta Falcons) and Chris Walker (Baltimore Ravens) agreed to contracts Tuesday.
Reveiz, Shaw and Walker all join former teammates with their new squads, while Cunningham and Thompson are the lone UT representatives with the Titans and Falcons, respectively
Cunningham, who finished eighth on UT's career punting chart with a 41.7-yard average, was a 2011 Eastham Energy College All-Star Game selection. The Dawsonville, Ga., native punted 149 times for 6,214 yards during his Vols' career, including a career-high 66 punts as a senior in 2010.
Reveiz will join former Tennessee teammate Luke Stocker, who the Bucs selected in the fourth round with the 104th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Shaw, who blocked for Montario Hardesty at UT, will reunite with the running back as a member of the Browns. Walker, who earned four letters as a defensive end at UT, will also join a former Vol teammate in Baltimore, as Morgan Cox was signed as an undrafted free agent last summer.
A former walk-on linebacker, Reveiz earned a scholarship in 2009, as well as the roles of starting middle linebacker and team captain in his final two seasons at UT. As a senior, the Farragut product led the Vols with 108 tackles in 2010 to tie for fifth in the SEC.
Leading the Vols in tackles six times as a senior, Reveiz was selected as a finalist for the inaugural Burlsworth Trophy, which recognizes college football's most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on.
Shaw was one of 10 Vols to start all 13 games in 2010, including eight at right guard. The three-year letterman helped tailback Tauren Poole eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing milestone in his first season as a starter.
Thompson, who grew up less than a half hour outside Atlanta in his hometown of Lithonia, Ga., ranked fourth on the Vols with 60 tackles as a senior in 2010 and finished his career with 115. Thompson was a defensive mainstay at linebacker, starting in 12 games and playing in all 13. He also ranked fourth on the team with five passes defended.
Walker, a 2011 East-West Shrine Game selection, finished his career with 105 tackles, 18.5 of them for loss, and four forced fumbles. As a senior in 2010, Walker led UT with six quarterback hurries, finished third with three sacks and six tackles for loss, and was ninth on the team with 45 stops. Walker paced the 2009 Vols with six sacks and tied for the squad lead with a pair of interceptions.
Along with Stocker, Denarius Moore was also taken in the 2011 NFL Draft, selected in the fifth round with the 148th overall pick.