Dec. 12, 2012
By Brian Rice
Today's special 12/12/12 Edition of Four Downs takes a look at notable instances of the number 12 at Tennessee, past and present.
First Down - Vols in the Twelfth Month
Tennessee is 42-14-1 in the month of December, but has never played a game on December 12.
The Vols played their first December game on Christmas Day 1899, a 6-0 blanking of Grant College, now the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, in Chattanooga. UT defeated Georgetown, 12-6, on Dec. 1, 1900, and played Grant again in December on the 3rd in 1905. From there, Tennessee would not play again in the month until a 13-12 win over Florida on Dec. 8, 1928.
Depending on how dates fell, UT would play its final regular season game in the first couple of days of December for most of the 20th century. When the SEC expanded for the 1992 season, the first weekend of December was designated to host the conference's new championship game.
The SEC Championship Game is technically a regular season game, so the Vols' last regular season December game was the 2007 SEC Title Game against LSU, a 21-14 win for the Tigers. The last "regular" regular season December game was the 2001 win over Florida, a 34-32 triumph on Dec. 1 in the Swamp, a game rescheduled from Sept. 15.
The most recent Vol game in December was the 2010 Franklin American Music City Bowl against North Carolina.
Second Down - Nash Great in #12
A four-year letterwinner for the Vols, Marcus Nash helped Tennessee become known as 'Wide Receiver U' during the mid-90s while playing alongside Joey Kent and Peerless Price.
The Tulsa, Okla., native finished his career as the second-leading receiver in UT history, catching 177 passes for 2,447 yards and 20 touchdowns.
As a senior in 1997, Nash earned first-team All-SEC honors after hauling 76 catches for 1,170 yards and 13 touchdowns. Both the receptions and touchdown totals represent Tennessee single-season records, as do the seven 100-yard games he posted while leading the Vols to the SEC title that year.
Following his collegiate career, Nash was one of three Vols drafted in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, going 30th overall to the Denver Broncos after Peyton Manning and Terry Fair had gone first and 20th, respectively.
Nash spent three years in the NFL before going on to a productive career in the Arena Football League with the Detroit Fury, Las Vegas Gladiators and Dallas Desperados. His best season as a professional came in 2004 when he was named the AFL Offensive Player of the Year after setting an AFL record with 154 receptions for 1,771 yards and 46 touchdowns.
Third Down - 12's of Note
12 - Lucas Taylor wore the number from 2005-2008 and was one of a select group of Volunteer players to have a 1,000-yard receiving season, posting exactly that mark in 2007, a year he was named to the AP All-SEC Second Team. In his first career start at Cal in the 2007 season opener, he pulled down six catches for 103 yards, which surpassed his previous career total of 101 over his first two years at Tennessee. His career-highs for catches and yards each came against Mississippi State in 07, an 11-catch, 186-yard performance in a 33-21 win in Starkville.
12 - Nathan Peterman, the Fruit Cove, Fla.- native is the current Vol to wear the number. He redshirted last season as a true freshman.
12 - Randy Sanders wore the number as a quarterback at Tennessee from 1984-1988. Sanders was a backup during his UT playing career, but had a major impact on the Vols' success in the 1990's as running backs coach and wide receivers coach, before taking over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following David Cutcliffe's departure for Ole Miss after the 1998 season. Sanders had quite the debut as the Vols' playcaller, opening his tenure with UT's 23-16 win over Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl for the 1998 BCS National Championship.
12 - Rushing attempts for A.J. Johnson in 2012. Out of the "Beast" package, Johnson ran for 21 yards and six touchdowns.
12 - Solo tackles in 2012 for defensive lineman Jordan Williams.
12 - Interceptions by the Tennessee defense in 2012.
Fourth Down - Notable 12s in Other Sports
12 - Tobias Harris, the last player to wear the number for Tennessee basketball. Harris was the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft after a freshman season that saw him score 521 points and pull down 247 rebounds while starting 33 of his team's 34 games in 2010-11. Harris was a USBWA Freshman All-America second-team selection and was named second-team All-SEC by the league's head coaches and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Other hoops No. 12s include Sam Arterburn (1984-87), Ray Cooper (1956-59), Pee-Wee Gash (2002-05), Marcus Haslip (1999-2002), Justin Jackson (2005-09), Hugh Jones (1947-49), Rick Keelber (1963-65), Ed Littleton (1980-83), Bill Lovelace (1952-55), Roger Peltz (1968-71), Anthony Sewell (1995-98) and Ramar Smith (2006-08).
12 - Bashaara Graves, a standout freshman for the Lady Vol basketball squad. Graves has already been named SEC Freshman of the Week twice. She has led Tennessee in scoring twice this season, with 18 against Rice and a career-high 20 at Miami and has scored in double figures in all seven games this season. Among other women's basketball graduates to wear 12 were Fonda Bondurant (1975-77), Nancy Bowman (1972-75), Amanda Canon (1998-2002), Shelia Frost (1985-89) and Liza Graves (1975-78)
12 - Michael Rivera wore the number for Vol baseball from 2003-2006, a career that saw him hit over .300 in every season, save for his .283 as a freshman. Rivera finished his Tennessee career as a .310 hitter who started 207 of his 219 career games, hit nine home runs and drove in 122. Currently, No. 12 is worn by head coach Dave Serrano.
12 - Soccer freshman Mackenzie Reynolds wears No. 12, she played in 12 games this season. The most notable soccer player to wear 12 is Canadian Olympian Rhian Wilkinson from 2000-03. She was an All-SEC selection and scored 28 goals in her career in Knoxville. Wilkinson was born on May 12. Soccer's Mick Ingram (2005-09) and Heather Handel (1996-99) also wore 12.
12 - The last Lady Vols volleyball player to wear No. 12 was Kylie Marshall from 2006-09. Marshall ranks third all-time in digs with 1,374.