30 Days 30 Vols
The countdown to the 100th year of Tennessee football inside Neyland Stadium is on, and with it comes another edition of 30 Days 30 Vols.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The countdown the 100th year of Tennessee football inside Neyland Stadium is on, and with it comes another edition of 30 Days 30 Vols.
Tennessee opens its 2021 season Thursday, August 2 against Bowling Green.
30 - Jimmy Calloway
Wide Receiver Jimmy Calloway is ready for his sophomore season on Rocky Top. Jimmy saw action in eight games as a true freshman at both wide receiver and on special teams. His first career reception was a six yard catch at Auburn. Calloway says if he wasn’t playing football he’d be starring on the basketball court. He played both the guard and forward positions in high school. Jimmy says his favorite food is chicken wings and loves both the flat and drumstick varieties. We look forward to seeing No. 9 get into the end zone for 6 this season.
29 - Walker Merrill
Freshman wide receiver Walker Merrill is an in-state athlete who comes to Tennessee from Nashville. He says wearing the Orange and White is important to him as he tries to represent the Music City and the Volunteer State. Merrill enrolled at UT this past January and went through spring drills with the team. He’s a consensus top 10 player in the state according to Rivals.com and ESPN. Walker says he’s got some speed, but he prides himself on being a physical receiver, which is something you need going up against physical defensive backs in the SEC. He’s also a big movie guy and loves the Avengers. Spiderman is his favorite character.
28 - DL Da’Jon Terry
He’s a strong defensive lineman joining the Big Orange family from Kansas. Da’Jon Terry joined the Vols just this past June. He has four seasons of eligibility remaining including his Covis-19 exempt year. Terry played in 10 games at Kansas with two starts recording 16 tackles and two sacks. Terry loves being at Tennessee where he says it’s like a family and he’s enjoyed building relationships with his teammates.
27 - OL K’Rojhn Calbert
K’Rojhn Calbert returns for his red-shirt junior season on Rocky Top. He brings extensive experience to the offensive line where he’s played both tackle and guard. He’s played 32 games in his UT career with five starts, all at right tackle. Calbert was a member of the VOLeaders Academy which traveled to Belize this past June. With regards to Josh Heupel’s new up tempo offense and the offensive lineman adapting to it Calbert says, it’s all about learning how to move, not necessarily moving fast but how to move efficiently. He says there’s definitely a science to it. Off the field, K’Rohn says he’s a gamer and loves the game Apex and does admit there are teammates who are better than him, but he loves playing nonetheless.
Calbert sustained a bicep injury during the early stages of fall camp, according to WVLT New’s partner Volquest.com. Calbert had an MRI following the injury and might be lost for the season, Volquest reports.
26 - DB Theo Jackson
Senior Theo Jackson brings a great deal of experience to the Tennessee secondary. He’s started 44 games while making 12 starts. Jackson has recorded 112 tackles and two interceptions so far. He reunites this fall with coach Willie Martinez who actually recruited him to Tennessee. Off the field, Theo says he has a passion for bowling, something he’s been doing since the age of four. His high game is an astonishing 280.
25 - OL Jerome Carvin
Jerome Carvin is a senior offensive guard who will definitely be in the mix for a starting position this fall. Carvin has played in 34 games, starting 17 of them and has played both the right and left guard positions. Being from Cordova, Tennessee, Jerome says he takes pride in wearing that Orange and representing the T! Carvin says he loves to fish. It provides him with a chance to be with is thoughts. Right now though he’s thinking about helping Josh Heupel’s up tempo offense motor down the field and score a lot of points this fall.
24 - TE Jacob Warren
Knoxville native Jacob Warren is looking forward to his redshirt junior season on Rocky Top. The Farragut grad followed in the footsteps of his dad, James, who played for the Vols back in the early 90s. An honor student and a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Warren earned his degree from Tennessee this past May. Last season he caught seven passes for 74 yards and one touchdown. When not playing football, you might find Jacob out on the links with the sport of golf being one of his other passions. The favorite part of his game he says is bombing those drives. This fall he’ll be looking to help that UT offense explode down the field and into the opponent’s end zone.
23 - OL Dayne Davis
Offensive lineman Dayne Davis returns for his Red-Shirt Sophomore season on the Hill. A former preferred walk-on, Davis continues to make significant strides and is likely to be part of the rotation this fall. He earned a scholarship in December 2020 and then made an immediate impact on the roster with his outstanding play and work ethic in the spring of 2021 seeing time at the tackle position. Davis says coach Heupel’s new offense is set up to wear defenses down by the 4th quarter. Like Jerome Carvin. Davis says he loves fishing and his favorite food is a medium and sometimes rare steak. Davis and the Vol will look to carve up
22 - Jaylen McCollough
Jaylen McCollough is a veteran starting safety who is definitely one of Tennessee’s defensive leaders. He enters his third year as a starter having played in 23 games with 14 starts. Jaylen teams up with Trevon Flowers to form one of the best 1-2 safety punches in the SEC. McCollough enrolled at Tennessee in the spring of 2019 after a four-star high school career in Georgia.
21 - OL Cooper Mays
Sophomore offensive lineman Cooper Mays hails from Knoxville and nearby Catholic High School which he attended along with his older brother and senior Vol lineman Cade Mays. Cooper will be in the mix for the starting center position this fall. The Tennessee family legacy of Vols is actually led by his father, Kevin, who was an All-SEC offensive guard for the Big Orange. Cooper has played in 10 games with two starts, both at center, for the Vols. He and his brother have also gotten into the NIL business by producing T-Shirts which say Home Mays, shirts produced by DW designs.
20 - WR JaVonta Payton
One of the newest Vols, JaVonte transfers into Tennessee from Mississippi State where he was a versatile, big play guy for the Bulldogs. The senior wide receiver returns to his home state where he played his high school ball at Hillsboro High School in nashville. contributor who is no stranger to the SEC. Payton caught 28 passes for 372 yards and one touchdown with one 100-yard receiving game at Mississippi State, with eight catches of 15 plus yards. He was MSU’s top special teams tackler with 20 in two seasons. Peyton also returned six kickoffs for 121 yards, averaging 20.2 yards per return for the Bulldogs. In all, he played in 22 games with five starts.
19 - DB Doneiko Slaughter
Sophomore Doneiko Slaughter is a versatile defensive back who can play nickel, safety or cornerback. He performed well in his first spring with the program here in 2021. Slaughter played in 10 games with one start last season. He is an economics major and honor roll student in the classroom.
18 -WR Grant Frerking
Wide receiver Grant Frerking is entering his redshirt junior season on Rocky Top. A member of the 2019 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll, Frerking played in one game last season, seeing action in a backup role in Tennessee’s 42-17 win at Vanderbilt. During his Tennessee career, Frerking has juggled academics and being CEO of his company, on top of competing as a student-athlete. At 15-years old Frerking started his own company, Metro Straw. The business specializes in pine straw and mulch, servicing thousands of residential and commercial clients in five states across the southeast.
17 - DB Tyus Fields
Tyus Fields is a reserve cornerback and special teams contributor who is entering his third season with the Tennessee program. He’s played in five career games. As a redshirt freshman, Fields made his season debut on special teams in the Vols 42-17 win over Vanderbilt. Tyus’ father Mark, played linebacker in the NFL for the Saints, Rams and Panthers from 1995 to 2004, earning Pro Bowl honors twice. His brother, Mark Fields, Jr. played cornerback at Clemson and is currently a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Fields, who is majoring in sociology, says it’s a dream for him to be playing here at Tennessee and having fun just goes back to when he was a little kid first learning to play the sport. Tyus says he loves to cook, and one of his favorite dishes is pasta with shrimp.
16 - OL Javontez Spraggins
Sophomore Javontez Spraggins is a powerful offensive guard who made an impact in his debut season in 2020 and had a great spring. A member of the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll Spraggins played in eight games with one start as a blocking tight end. Spraggins played in eight games and made one start (tight end in jumbo package) as a true freshman. He played on 91 offensive snaps, mostly at right guard, and did not allowed a sack or a pressure. Javontez comes from a small town in East St. Louis with a population of 30 or 40 thousand people so to come to a place like Knoxville is a big change for him and having the right mental approach is key. Spraggins has a great head on his shoulders majoring in Sociology and minoring in Business at the University of Tennessee.
15 - QB Harrison Bailey
Quarterback Harrison Bailey is entering his sophomore season at the University of Tennessee. Bailey was thrown into a starting role late in his true freshman season. He arrived at Tennessee in January 2020 but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, did not have a spring or a normal summer of preparation. He ended up playing in six games with three starts and was 1-2 in those starts accounting for four touchdowns. Harrison says when he’s not in the football facility he’s really big on family. The Marietta, Georgia native also recently got a dog, a long haired German Shepherd, who sleeps at the foot of his bed each night.
14 - WR Cedric Tillman
Wide receiver Cedric Tillman is set to enter his red-shirt junior season for the Volunteers. Tillman is a big physical wide receiver who has seen action in 25 games while making two starts during his career. He has terrific hands and has a knack for making highlight reel plays, including a diving touchdown catch that was featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays in the 2020 season finale vs. Texas A&M. Cedric also made a diving grab to end the 2021 Orange & White Game. In fact, Tillman was the leading receiver in 2021 spring game with five receptions for 67 yards and one game-clinching touchdown. Tillman is also quite efficient in the classroom being a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
13 - TE Princeton Fant
Princeton Fant is entering his senior season for the Tennessee Volunteers. An athletic tight end out of Nashville, Fant played in 20 games and has made three starts during his career. H started his career as a running back and moved to tight end prior to the 2019 season. He’s coming off the best season of his career and had a great spring. A member of the team’s leadership council, Fant has caught 14 passes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Princeton says he’s followed the example of now Hall of Famer Peyton manning by learning as much as he can about his opponent through film study. He says that has helped him improve and develop as a player. How versatile is Fant? Well He also played basketball at LaVergne High School in Nashville. Played all positions on the floor and turned in a high game of 42 points. Not too shabby indeed!
12 - PK Chase McGrath
Red-shirt senior Chase McGrath transfers in from Southern Cal where he was also a teammate of current Vol Velus Jones Jr. Mcgrath is strong-legged kicker who brings four years of Power Five experience to Knoxville after graduating from USC in December 2020. He enrolled at Tennessee in January 2021 and went through spring practice. McGrath will have two years of remaining eligibility, including the fall of 2021. He was the starting kicker at USC for three seasons overcoming a knee injury in 2018. McGrath has connected on 32-of-42 field goals (76.2 percent) during his career, including a career-long make of 52 yards (2019). He was 2-of-4 from 50 yards or more and 118-of-119 in PATs at USC and enters the season having made 70 in a row.
11 - WR Jalin Hyatt
Jalin Hyatt had his coming out party as a freshman for Tennessee in 2020. A speedy wide receiver and an explosive playmaking threat out of Irmo, South Carolina, Hyatt delivered an outstanding true freshman season and will be one of the Vols’ go-to receivers this fall. Jalin, who can also contribute in the special teams return game, played in 10 career games with one start. Of his 20 catches, nine have gone for 10+ yards, six for 20+ yards and three for 30+ yards. Hyatt is excited about the up-tempo, fast paced offense Tennessee is about to unveil and his message to recruits is this is the perfect place for you.
10 - LB Juwan Mitchell
Juwan Mitchell is an outstanding, all-around transfer linebacker who joined the Vols in the summer of 2021. He comes to Tennessee after two seasons at Texas where he was the Longhorns’ leading tackler in the fall of 2020. Mitchell enrolled at Tennessee in June 2021 and will have two seasons of remaining eligibility, including his COVID-19 exempt year. He played in 21 games at Texas with 13 starts, accounting for 101 tackles (59 solo) with eight tackles for loss, three sacks, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery. His college career began in the junior college ranks at Butler Community College in Kansas where he was an all-conference performer. Mitchell says his goal is to come in and lead by example in a situation he says we’re are all in together.
9 - OL Cade Mays
Former Knoxville Catholic and Georgia standout Cade Mays returns for his senior season at Tennessee. Mays is an elite and versatile offensive lineman who continues his family legacy of Vols following in the footsteps of his Dad Kevin, who played for Phillip Fulmer. Cade, who can play every position on the line, began his career at Georgia, playing his freshman (2018) and sophomore (2019) seasons in Athens before transferring to Tennessee in January 2020. He enters his second season with the Vols after starting seven games a season ago. Cade continues the family legacy of Vols with his brother, Cooper, is a current teammate on the offensive line. Both Cade and Cooper have taken advantage of the new NIL laws teaming with DW Designs in the production of t-shirts which say, “Home Mays”.
8 - DB Alontae Taylor
Without question, cornerback Alontae Taylor is one of the leaders for the Vols on and off the field. The lockdown corner has played in 33 games with 19 starts. He began his career as a wide receiver before moving to cornerback during the fall of 2018. He was selected to the SEC Football Leadership Council in 2020 where he is in his second term as vice chair. Taylor was instrumental as a student voice in helping the SEC return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic. He notched two interceptions and 11 passes defended and accounted 102 total tackles, including 74 of the solo variety. A wo-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Taylor is entering his senior season on Rocky Top.
7 - QB Joe Milton
A strong-armed transfer quarterback from Michigan, Joe Milton III will be in the mix for a starting role in first season with the Vols. He enrolled at Tennessee in June 2021 after playing three seasons at Michigan, including the 2020 campaign in which he was the starter in five games. Milton, who originally signed with Michigan out of Olympia High School in Orlando in 2017, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining with the Vols, including his COVID-19 exempt year. In 14 career games at Michigan, accounted for 1,350 total yards of offense – 1,194 passing and 156 rushing. He accounted for eight touchdowns – five passing and three rushing. He completed 86-of-152 passes for 1,194 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions for a 57.0 completion percentage. Milton, who wore No. 5 at Michigan but will wear No. 7 at Tennessee, which is the what he wore in high school in Pahokee, Florida. He says the snow and education lured him to Ann Arbor, but he’s excited to be in Big Orange Country playing for the Vols. Milton says he’s a game on and off the field where his favorite video game is War Zone.
6 - WR Jimmy Holiday
Wide receiver Jimmy Holiday is a versatile athlete who enters his second year with the program. Holiday has been a solid contributor at wide receiver and on special teams, playing in eight career games so far. The sophomore made his Tennessee debut in season-opening win last year at South Carolina, recovering a fumble on a muffed punt to seal the win over the Gamecocks. He did not play against Vanderbilt or Texas A&M. Holiday says his main attributes are being fast and being decisive. Off the field he says he loves to ride horses and four wheelers.
5 - QB Hendon Hooker
Quarterback and senior transfer Hendon Hooker is a dynamic dual-threat graduate transfer quarterback who joined the Vols in the spring of 2021. He earned his undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech where he spent four seasons with the Hokies prior to transferring to Knoxville. Hooker will have two years of remaining eligibility. He played in 25 games with 15 starts and had an 8-7 record as a starter at Virginia Tech completing 197-of-312 passes for 2,894 yards with 22 touchdowns through the air, while rushing for 1,033 yards on 247 carries and 15 touchdowns on the ground during his stint at Virginia Tech. He comes from a family pedigree of quarterbacks, including his father and brother.
4 - WR Ramel Keyton
A talented wide receiver with big play potential, Ramel Keyton enters his third season with the program. He caught three passes for 33 yards in the 2021 spring game. Keyton played in 19 games in his first two seasons with three starts. So far, he has 13 receptions for 180 yards and is seeking first career touchdown in orange and white. Keyton’s hobby away from football is a very interesting one. He likes to trade currency in foreign exchange markets. He says it’s like the stock market where you can make money buying and selling currency. Pretty impressive for the junior from Marietta, Georgia who looks to exchange pass receptions for touchdowns in 2021.
3 - RB Jabari Small
Sophomore running back Jabari Small looks to be in line for a starting spot in 2021. The hard running back has outstanding vision and work ethic. He comes from a family pedigree of SEC players, including his father and All-SEC uncles. Small took his game to another level in the spring of 2021 and capped practice with two rushing scores in the spring game. He arrived at Tennessee after a heralded prep career in Memphis and will be coached by Memphis native Jerry Mack in 2021. An honor student in the classroom, Small has played in 10 games so far for the Volunteers.
2 - WR Velus Jones Jr.
Senior wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. is a versatile wide receiver and dynamic return specialist who enters his sixth year at the collegiate level. Jones spent his first four seasons at Southern Cal from 2016-19 before transferring to Tennessee in the spring of 2020. He enters his second season in Knoxville and elected to return for the 2021 campaign, playing in 48 career games with 12 starts. For his career, Velus has hauled in 58 passes for 627 yards. He enters the 2021 season as the FBS’ active career leader in kickoff return yards (2,345), averaging 23.7 yards per kickoff return. Jones earned his undergraduate degree from USC and is currently pursuing his master’s degree at UT. He’s also taking advantage of the new NIL rules establishing his very own YouTube Channel, a first for any UT football player. He says it will help him build his own brand while bringing Vol fans from all over the country together.
Head Coach-Josh Heupel
Former Oklahoma national champion quarterback and UCF head coach Josh Heupel takes the reins of Tennessee football in 2021. A 2018 National Coach of the Year finalist and dynamic offensive play caller, Heupel’s 28 victories with the Knights ranked among the top 10 in the FBS over a three-year span from 2018-20. The 43-year-old has enjoyed success at every stop of his career dating back to his high school playing days in South Dakota.
The son of a successful head coach, he has studied the game his entire life and reached the pinnacle of the sport as both a player and assistant coach. Heupel has coached and played in multiple national championship games, won eight conference championships, coached in 16 bowl games and developed two Heisman Trophy winners. Heupel’s task of re-defining one of college football’s greatest traditions with a new-age approach began in the spring of 2021. He signed nine Power Five transfers, forged relationships with his team and installed a fast-paced offense with a track record of success to complement an attacking-style defense.
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