Updates on the Tennessee Vols Academic Progress Rate and an honor for basketball legend Steve Hamer leads our Volunteers news for Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
We’re through 20 days of May, and things are beginning to reopen slowly in some places across the country, but COVID-19 largely has many areas still shut down. However, the Tennessee Vols still have news to make on the academic front and with coverage of former players.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with updates on how the football program is doing academically. That’s obviously a huge deal if UT is going to continue to compete the way it wants to. We also have an honor for a former basketball player to cover.
Beyond those two main stories, there are a couple of interesting analysis stories on different individuals in the football program. One is a coach, and the other is a former player. Let’s start with the academic news, though.
Football multi-year APR score slightly drops – Patrick Brown, GoVols247
The 2018-2019 Tennessee Vols football team’s Academic Progress Rate score came in at 965. That dropped the program’s four-year score three points down to 967, which tied for 10th best in the SEC. Although that seems low and is a drop, it’s still safely above where it needs to be for the program to compete in postseason play.
The contract for head football coach Jeremy Pruitt includes APR bonuses worth $50,000 for single- or multi-year APR scores higher than 945 and $100,000 for single- or multi-year APR scores higher than 985. The men’s basketball team had a perfect APR score of 1,000 for the 2018-19 academic year, one of nine Tennessee teams to record a perfect mark as the Vols set a record with six teams earning an NCAA award for their strong academic performance.
Former Tennessee Vols basketball center Steve Hamer, who played with the program from 1992 to 1996 and then spent time in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, will be inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. Hamer averaged double figures his final three years on Rocky Top, including 18 points and nine and a half rebounds as a senior in 1995-1996.
Steve (Hamer) was drafted by the Celtics in the second round and remained in the NBA through 2003. Fast forward to the present day where he’s back at Tennessee as UT’s Athletics Discovery Coordinator and now named among the latest class of inductees to the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.
Jeremy Pruitt rises up coaches ranking – Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports
In one year, Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt leapt from No. 52 to No. 38 in the CBS Sports ranking of all 65 Power Five head coaches. He actually finished above Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano.
Pruitt finishes a spot higher than Schiano. If not for a Tennessee fan revolt in Knoxville after word leaked they were hiring Schiano, Pruitt wouldn’t be there.
Darrell Taylor predicted to make immediate impact – Brady Henderson, ESPN
Despite being the Seattle Seahawks’ second-round draft pick, former Tennessee football edge rusher Darrell Taylor is projected to make the most immediate impact as a rookie with the team. Seattle traded up to take Taylor with 49th overall pick, 22 spots after their first-round pick, former Texas Tech Red Raiders linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
Recent history tells us that an eight-sack rookie season would be asking a lot from Taylor. Something like what Rasheem Green produced in 2019 — four sacks on roughly 34 snaps per game — is more realistic. Then again, Taylor’s chief competition for playing time at Leo end is veteran Benson Mayowa, who has never started more than six games in a season and didn’t make any starts last year. So it wouldn’t be a shock if Taylor factors in more than that.