Tennessee Vols football cornerback Bryce Thompson getting arrested and Maleik Gray transferring lead our Volunteers news for Monday, Aug. 26, 2019.
Well, college football is in full swing. And the news is heavy again for the Tennessee Vols. Coming off the final weekend of no UT football game, we enter Monday loaded with stories to bring you, and they are across numerous sports. But things aren’t starting off great for the school.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with two major developments that happened Sunday related to the football team. This includes the arrest of a top player and the transfer of another. It’s the last thing the team needs. But that’s just the beginning of news.
The football, basketball and women’s basketball head coaches all spoke over the weekend, the athletic director wrote a letter to the public, and we have another game recap in one sport and exhibition recap in another to get to. Finally, there is more preseason recognition in football and golf. So we have 10 stories. Let’s start with the bad news.
Bryce Thompson arrested – Chris Low, ESPN.com
Sophomore cornerback Bryce Thompson of the Tennessee Vols football team was arrested and spent Saturday night in jail on a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault. The arrest stems from alleged threats he made during a dispute with a woman at a dorm on campus.
"Thompson told the woman he would “slap the s— out of you,” witnesses, including the hall director, told police. One of those witnesses also told police he heard Thompson threaten to “shoot up the school.” Thompson admitted to being in an argument with the woman, but he denied any physical contact or making any threats."
Maleik Gray transferring – Dan Harralson, VolsWire.com
Redshirt sophomore Maleik Gray of Tennessee football is transferring. He will be heading to Mississippi Gulf Coast Coast Community College.
"Gray played in one game in 2018 and redshirted. The Lavergne, Tenn. native played in two games during the 2017 season. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound receiver played at Lavergne High School."
Four Vols on freshman All-America Watch List – FWAA Facebook
Freshman Tennessee football offensive linemen Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris, cornerback Warren Burrell and linebacker Henry To’oto’o were all named to the Football Writers Association of America freshman All-American Watch List on Friday. The FWAA released the list on Facebook.
"FWAA Freshman Focus is pleased to announce our Preseason Freshman All-American and Shaun Alexander Player of the Year Watchlist brought to you by the Stand Together Foundation. Last year’s Freshman Player of the Year, Trevor Lawrence, set the bar high for the incoming class of freshmen, but we look forward to watching these young men develop on and off the field this season."
Jeremy Pruitt addresses media Friday – Sportsradiownml.com
After another Friday practice, Tennessee Vols football head coach Jeremy Pruitt met with the media heading into the weekend. Pruitt expressed his frustration with the Aubrey Solomon situation, noting he had advocated for guys who transferred from UT, and he talked moving Jeremy Banks to linebacker again. He also discussed landing Kasim Hill, noting the Maryland transfer QB is a walk-on and reached out and said that Daniel Bituli would be out 10 to 17 days just due to a cleanup procedure on his knee. Here’s a bit of what he said about Solomon.
"“We actually had a couple of guys, obviously that have left our program, and I wrote letters to the NCAA on why I thought that they should be eligible at the institutions that they’re going to go to, and I’m pretty sure they’re all eligible. So I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, as far as when they decide who’s going to be eligible and who’s not, but I definitely know that that’s happened in the past for us for sure.”"
Kellie Harper addresses media on Lady Vols – Taylor Vortherms, The Daily Times
Fresh off her program’s trip to Europe, Lady Vols basketball head coach Kellie Harper spoke with the media about the state of the program Friday. She talked about the experiences gained on that trip, in which her team went 3-0. Here’s some of what she said about it.
"“It gave them an opportunity to hear my voice. They know where to sit on the bench now. They know how to go in and out of the game. Little things that people take for granted sometimes, we don’t have to now go over those things for our first game in November. They have an understanding of what that’s supposed to look like, so it puts us a little ahead there.”"
Rick Barnes, players discuss men’s basketball – Grant Ramey, GoVols247
With four starters gone, Tennessee Vols men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes discussed the upcoming season on Saturday. Senior guard Lamonte Turner and freshman phenom Josiah-Jordan James also spoke about the new-look team. Barnes noted that the program isn’t expecting an answer from Uros Plavsic until sometime in October. Here’s a bit of what else he said.
"“Every year you simply get to the starting gates and you have to start over. You look at our team this year, you go back when Grant Williams got here, when Admiral Schofield, those guys, we had to do a lot physically to get them in shape. This group of guys, one, I can tell you, you look at them and they look like they’re in shape.”"
Phillip Fulmer addresses Vol Nation – Phil Kaplan, Knoxville News Sentinel
University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer wrote a letter to the public over the weekend to discuss the upcoming school year. With one sports season underway and two more about to start, there was a lot to address. Here’s a look at some of what he said.
"As we prepare to embark on a new academic and athletic year — celebrating UT’s 225th anniversary — it’s my hope that all of our teams aim to build on the positive momentum generated by our top-25 finish in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup this past year. That’s a credit to our incredible student-athletes and our outstanding roster of head coaches and their respective staffs. But every single day you either get better or you get worse — you never stay the same."
Men’s golf receives votes in preseason top 25 – CollegiateGolf.com
While eight SEC teams made it into the rankings, the Tennessee Vols men’s golf team did at least receive votes in the Bushnell/Golfweek Preseason Coaches Poll, which was announced on Friday. They came in at No. 30 with 38 first-place votes and nine SEC teams overall head of them. The Texas Longhorns came in at No. 1.
"Arizona State came in second in the poll, followed by Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Vanderbilt rounding out the Top-5. Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Auburn, the defending National Champions Stanford, and Pepperdine all begin the season in the Top-10."
Women’s soccer beats Mercer – Caitlyn Jordan, The Daily Beacon
The No. 10 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team moved to 2-0 on the season Sunday night with a 3-0 win over the Mercer Bears. Their victory was the 150th for head coach Brian Pensky, who is 150-96-41 for his career. UT will next face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road this Thursday.
"Tennessee found itself in Mercer territory often on Sunday as 61% of the game was played on the Bears’ side of the field. It didn’t take Tennessee long to get scoring chances as the Lady Vols’ quickly took five shots in the first fifteen minutes of the game. Tennessee finally broke the tie when Vignola shook a Mercer defender and scored to give the Lady Vols a 1-0 lead."
Volleyball wins exhibition matchup – UTSports
Tennessee Lady Vols volleyball defeated High Point Saturday in an exhibition game to start off the season. Ranked No. 19 in the nation, second-year head coach Eve Rackham’s team will officially open the season Friday at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
"Freshmen setter Kailey Keeble, right side Morgahn Fingall and defensive specialist/libero Madisen Werdell each saw their first action for the Lady Vols in the win over High Point. In the third set and with Tennessee at match point, Keeble set up Fingall on the right pin as the lefty hammered it through the seam to give the Lady Vols the victory."