Should Players That Transferred From Tennessee Be Considered “Former Vols”?
It’s a curious question indeed, one that to many folks doesn’t really matter. If a player wants to claim Tennessee, even after they leave, it’s really up to them isn’t it?
To most being called a former Vol, or being attributed to Tennessee, is likely just a novelty, but to many fans and former players it’s a very big deal.
This past weekend’s NFL draft is what got me thinking about the label of former Vol, specifically when looking over the post-draft numbers.
During the draft, and shortly after, I kept saying and tweeting that five former Vols had been drafted. When I was doing my research after the draft, counting SEC players and figuring up draft numbers for each school, I realized my final number of 64 SEC players drafted was different than the number of 63 that I had seen floating around everywhere.
It didn’t take me long to realize that every other news outlet was only counting four players drafted from Tennessee — they were leaving out defensive tackle Montori Hughes.
Hughes of course was removed from Tennessee’s football squad by Derek Dooley during the summer of 2011. He then enrolled at UT-Martin and finished his college career there.
I adjusted my numbers for this oversight and rolled with 63 former SEC players drafted and four former Vols drafted. (Even though Tyrann Mathieu was attributed to LSU, but I suppose that had to do with the fact that the honey badger didn’t play anywhere last season)
You’ve probably noticed that I still credit the Vols with five players drafted. I think officially it should be that way.
I’m not sure on Hughes’ personal thoughts on Tennessee, and that would have a lot to do with this, but he spent more playing time in Knoxville then he did at UT-Martin. That alone gives him credit as being a former Vol, and before you say it doesn’t matter, it really does. You’d be surprised at how recruits view this type of thing, but I digress.
If Da’Rick Rogers would have been drafted I’m quite sure he would not have been counted as a Vol either. Even though he as well spent more time playing for the Vols then he did with Tennessee Tech.
More than one time during the draft I heard Rogers referred to as “the former Tennessee receiver” or “former Volunteer Da’Rick Rogers”. It’s pretty clear that the perception of Rogers is that of a former Vol.
Rogers has been making the effort to come back around Knoxville since Derek Dooley left. He and Hughes both attended Tennessee’s pro-day back in March and Rogers also attended the Orange and White game on April 20.
Butch Jones has made the effort to welcome all former Volunteers back and we’ve seen players taking him up on that.
Arian Foster finished his college career as a Vol, but he hasn’t had the greatest relationship with Tennessee since then. Seeing him at the Orange and White game, on a stage acting as the DJ, was quite a site for many former Vol fans and just goes to show what kind of effect Butch Jones is having on Rocky Top.
If players like Da’Rick Rogers and Montori Hughes want to have Tennessee by their names on Sunday Night Football on NBC, then by all means I think they should be allowed to do that.
In fact I think if any former player that transferred wants to do that they should be able to do so.
Of course I wouldn’t expect to see Bryce Brown (who left Tennessee under not so great circumstances) or Nu’Keese Richardson being credited to Tennessee any time soon.
The difference with Brown is that he left Tennessee on his own accord. He wasn’t kicked off the team or anything like that, but I’d wager that if he wanted to come back to Knoxville and set down with Butch Jones, he’d probably be welcomed back.
After-all family never turns their backs on each other.