Aug. 28, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee football All-American and longtime NFL offensive tackle Antone Davis has been named the Vol For Life Coordinator for the UT football team. Davis returns to Tennessee more than two decades after he played with the Vols and earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in his senior season of 1990.
"I have gotten to know Antone and he is just an impressive person," said Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. "Obviously, he was a great player at Tennessee, had a long NFL career and really turned what could have been a real negative situation in his life into a positive and he was able to be an ambassador for Tennessee for a while. He's excited and, hopefully, he is going to have a real positive effect on a lot of the guys on our team and I think he will.
"He fit all the criteria we were looking for, and, in addition, was really enthusiastic about the opportunity. We are trying to get that program to grow to not just positively influence the guys on our team, but also better connect our lettermen, which I'm hoping he'll do that too."
Most recently, Davis received worldwide fame finishing as the runner-up on the television show, The Biggest Loser. Davis decided to go on the program after he saw several of his college and professional teammates suffer through trying times due to health issues brought on by weight gain and unhealthy eating. Davis lost 202 pounds during the show, taking his weight from 447 to 245 in the season finale in December 2011.
Davis has used his inspiring story on the show as a platform for speaking to others about health and life skills management, which he will continue to do in his role with the Vol For Life Program.
"It's great to be back and it's great to be around what I consider family," Davis said. "It's good to be in a role where I will be able to have a positive impact on the players and their lives. There are a lot of things that I have gone through in life and to be able to pass those experiences on to young players will definitely benefit them. I hope they receive it well and I believe they will."
The Vol For Life Program is a comprehensive player support and character education program. The four-year VFL curriculum focuses on the often-overlooked personal growth of the student-athlete, encompassing the following topics: character education, personal finance, life skills, career development, spiritual growth, community service, mental conditioning, personal branding, and navigating the social media landscape.
The ultimate goal of the VFL program, in Dooley's eyes, is to reshape the culture of the program into one that produces not only great players and teams, but even greater men.
Davis spent seven years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, playing from 1991-97. He started 87 of his 97 NFL games on the offensive line. Davis was a first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1991, who selected him eighth overall.
With the Vols, Davis manned the outside of a highly touted offensive line, lettering from 1987-90. He earned the Jacobs Blocking Award as the SEC's top blocker in his All-American season of 1990. Davis helped create holes for tailback Tony Thompson in 1990, allowing him to rush for 1,261 yards that season. Davis was a part of two SEC Championship teams, in 1989 and 1990. The Vols captured three bowl games in his tenure, winning the 1991 Sugar Bowl over Virginia, the 1990 Cotton Bowl over Arkansas and the 1988 Peach Bowl over Indiana. The Volunteers were ranked eighth in the final AP bowl of his senior season in 1990 and fifth in his junior year of 1989.
A native of Fort Valley, Ga., Davis and his wife Carrie currently live in Mufreesboro, Tenn., and have four children.