KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will honor 10 scholarship seniors before Saturday’s game against Missouri.
It’s an eclectic group that spans Derek Dooley’s final season and Butch Jones’ inaugural signing class.
Together, they’ll run through the ’T’ one final time.
“We have a very, very special group of seniors,” Jones said.
“We always ask, ‘Is the football program better because you were a part of it? How have you impacted the Tennessee football program?
“I can tell you this, these seniors leave Tennessee football in a better place. They’ve been great illustrations of perseverance and character and we’re going to miss them greatly.”
Guys like fifth-year seniors LaTroy Lewis and Jason Croom have literally witnessed every “brick” it has taken to rebuild a teetering program, and Jones believes the entire group has left an indelible mark on the program.
“We talked about when we recruited these guys to get Tennessee football back. It’s come a long way,” Jones said.
“Are we there yet? Have we arrived? No, but these individuals have really been the architects of it. They’ve been through a lot.”
Thus far, Tennessee’s seniors — headlined by quarterback Josh Dobbs and star defensive stalwarts Cam Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin — have 28 career wins, including two straight bowl victories. They snapped a historic losing streak to Florida this season, and with some help, could send the Vols back to the SEC Championship for the first time in a decade.
“How far this program has come — we’re 13-3 in our last 16 games — and that’s a tribute to our seniors,” Jones said.
Tennessee’s 10 scholarship seniors
Quarterback Josh Dobbs – A program ambassador, multiple school records on the field. Will leave as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in school history.
Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin – An All-SEC standout and three-year starter before a shoulder injury shortened his senior season.
Cornerback Cam Sutton – Has started all 42 games of his career. Returned from a broken ankle this season. Holds several records including the most passes defended in Tennessee history.
Defensive end LaTroy Lewis – A locker room leader and lunch-pail lineman. Has played multiple positions for the Vols including recently sliding inside to play defensive tackle for a depleted defense. Has 3.5 career sacks.
Defensive end Corey Vereen – A consistent starter since his sophomore season. Has formed a formidable pass rushing duo with Derek Barnett. Ranks 10th in the league in sacks (6) in 2016.
Offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman – A linchpin and leader along the offensive line. Has started 23 games the last three seasons, settling in at center in 2016.
Linebacker Kenny Bynum – A special teams contributor and backup linebacker. Seen time at strong-side linebacker in some packages. Has 25 career tackles.
Tight end Jason Croom – A former receiver who battled injuries throughout his career. Has 50 receptions for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns in his career.
Cornerback Malik Foreman – A frequent starter at nickel or corner the last two seasons. A special teams stalwart, too. Made a game-saving forced fumble against Texas A&M this season. Has 3 career interceptions and 5.5 tackles for loss.
Defensive end Charles Folger – A little-used former walk-on. Made his first 3 career tackles, including a stop for loss, in a win over Tennessee Tech this season. Had a mic-drop interview Wednesday when he whipped out a Dooley “Where’s Rommel?” impression.