Tennessee Vols morning report: Eric Gray, Jeremy Pruitt interviews

Interviews with Tennessee Vols football head coach Jeremy Pruitt and running back Eric Gray lead our Volunteers news for Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Coronavirus still has everything shut down, but that doesn’t mean lots of moves aren’t being made as if the season is going to happen next year. The Tennessee Vols had a lot of that on Monday, from securing a commitment for their 2021 class to setting a visit date in December with a 2021 junior college prospect.

Our morning update on Rocky Top actually includes some of that recruiting talk, as it comes up in an interview with UT’s head coach that was conducted Monday. Interviews lead the way for our coverage today. We also have a story on an interview with a specific player who went on the football program’s weekly podcast.

Beyond interviews, there is a women’s tennis story to bring you as well. It deals with individual recognition for specific athletes. So this is still a pretty solid news day overall. Let’s start things off with the Tennessee Vols football interviews.

Eric Gray goes on ‘The Slice’ podcast – UTSports.com

After emerging late as a freshman, Tennessee Vols running back Eric Gray brings a lot of hype at running back. He appeared on UT’s football podcast “The Slice” Monday and talked about an array of things, including his decision to stick with football and how Jay Graham is already helping him. Here’s what the Memphis native said about winning Gator Bowl MVP.

“Once I held that (MVP) trophy up in the air, I was like ‘this is college football.’ From a kid dreaming about playing college football, I am really up here holding up the MVP trophy for the University of Tennessee. It was just an amazing feeling. I was so happy for us, happy for the seniors to go out with a W after all they had been through. Words could not describe what was going through my body then.”

Jeremy Pruitt discusses recruiting success – SEC Radio, SiriusXM

On Monday, Tennessee football added to its top five class with a tight end commitment while also making the cut for a four-star in-state wide receiver and setting a visit date for a four-star junior college cornerback. Jeremy Pruitt spoke about the recruiting successes, which was tweeted out here, before all of that. Here’s a bit of what he said.

“I’ve been on staffs that’s coached in six national championship games, so I’ve been a part of the best that there can possibly be out there. We know what great looks like as a staff. We’ve hired a (staff) full of guys that understand that, when it comes to player development and relationships with the guys in their room.”

Women’s tennis collects regional awards – wearecollegetennis.com

Four individual Tennessee Lady Vols won Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) regional awards Monday, and the program as a whole took home the ITA Community Service Award. Winners included junior Tenika McGiffin, senior Johanna Silva, freshman Carly Briggs and sophomore Rebeka Mertena. UT was in the Ohio Valley Region for all the awards.

The Division I Playing Awards include: Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship, ITA Rookie of the Year, ITA Player to Watch, ITA Most Improved Senior, ITA Senior Player of the Year, ITA Community Service Award, and ITA Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award. The national winners of the awards will be announced next Monday at 8 AM PDT during a special virtual awards ceremony. The awards ceremony can be viewed on the ITA’s Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.