Today is Wednesday, February 1st, and there is no better time to be on Rocky Top. Here is your review of all the Tennessee Volunteers news out of Knoxville and more.
It has been two weeks since students returned to Knoxville, and the city has been buzzing with excitement. There is plenty to unpack in Tennessee; New football recruiting, the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Basketball climbing the rankings, and more.
Tennessee Volunteers News: Vol football hosts big recruiting weekend
Tennessee football hosted another big recruiting weekend this past weekend. Here are the following players that were in attendance:
5★ DL: Kamarion Franklin
4★ WR: Perry Thompson
4★ ATH: Daniel Hill
4★ CB: Kumaro Brown
4★ QB: George Macintyre
Hendon Hooker, Byron Young, and Darnell Wright get ready for the Senior Bowl
Starting quarterback for the Vols last season, Hendon Hooker, accepted his invitation to the Senior Bowl last week, and has just recently arrived at the practice field over the weekend. Hooker had one of the best seasons in school history, threw for over 3000 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. It is an extremely remarkable stat line, and Vols fans can not wait to see him on Saturday.
According to NFL Rookie Watch:
"“Hendon Hooker is reportedly off of his crutches and at the Senior Bowl this week… The Tennessee QB says he ‘should’ be ready for the start of NFL training camp”"
Byron Young was one of the best players for the Volunteers’ defense this past season and tallied up over 30 tackles with 22 of them being solo tackles. Young transferred to Tennessee after starting his career at Georgia Military College, which is an NJCAA member located in Milledgeville, Georgia. He now has the chance to showcase how dominant he is in this year’s Senior Bowl, for a chance at getting drafted in the NFL.
Darnell is a 6’6 340 pound monster of an offensive lineman and will bully just about any defensive player around. He is going to get a great opportunity to show it this weekend in the Senior bowl. Wright was a 2022 All-SEC First Team (Associated Press, Coaches, USA TODAY) and 2022 Rotary Lombardi Award Semifinalist for Tennessee football this past season.
Here is a highlight of Darnell Wright at the Senior Bowl:
Tennessee Volunteers News: Vol basketball skyrockets to No. 2 on latest polls
Tennessee basketball is on fire, and simply can’t stop winning. In this past weekend’s top 10 matchup against the Texas Longhorns, the Vols found a way to win 82-71 on their home court.
The Tennessee basketball offense was led by Olivier Nkamhoua. The 6’9 senior from Finland, went on an absolute tear last night against the Longhorns and dropped a season-high of 27 points. Along with the points, he also snagged 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Nkamhoua went 12-15 from the field and lead the Volunteers to a huge top-10 victory.
Another player that has been on fire lately is point guard Zakai Zeigler. In his last 3 games, he has: 15 points per game, 8-of-21 from three-point land, 27 assists, and is playing like an NBA veteran leading the court.
While the AP top 25 polls have the Volunteers ranked No. 2, the more important rankings are KenPom’s rankings, which of the Vols at No. 1. Tennessee basketball sits at a +29.71 adjusted efficiency margin (AdjEM), this statistic takes the total offensive efficiency (AdjO) and subtracts it from how many points they would give up (AdjD).
On paper, this Volunteers team is undoubtedly the best in the nation. They have one of the deepest rosters and can play anyone in any game. It’s starting to feel like no matter whom the Vols are playing, a player is bound to step up and win the game.
Tayven Jackson voices his opinion on Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton
Former Tennessee quarterback, Tayven Jackson, who recently transferred to Indiana, had some inspiring words to say about his two former teammates Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton.
In a recent press conference, Tayven said:
"“Hendon and Joe really taught me how to turn this game into a business perspective. How to always be on time, always do the right thing, always go overboard, getting film, getting work in, and nothing is ever enough. You have to go over the top and do everything almost perfectly… I think they’re both Heisman quarterbacks. I think they’re both top quarterbacks in college football. I think they will be the top quarterbacks in the NFL soon.”"
It’s amazing to see how highly Tayven thinks of his two mentor quarterbacks, and Vol fans truly appreciate this class act by Jackson.
Former Volunteer Trey Smith makes it to the Super Bowl
Trey Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs have advanced to the Super Bowl to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Vol nation wishes Trey good luck in his big game!
According to the UT Sports website:
"“Trey saw action on over 2,500 career offensive snaps and allowed only one sack in his final two seasons … Came to UT as a heralded recruit in the 2017 signing class, becoming the first Vol true freshman to start at left tackle in over 30 years en route to Freshman All-America honors … Off the field, was a leader in the community, spearheading charity drives and was the recipient of the 2019 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year … Two-time SEC Community Service Team representative.”"