HOOVER, Ala. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones labored over which three players to bring to SEC Media Days, so much so that he realized just how deep the leadership runs in the locker room.
Jones announced Monday that the Vols will elect captains for each game on a weekly basis after two of the permanent captains for 2016, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cam Sutton, missed many key games with injuries.
“We’ll elect captains each week, [and] that’s something we’ve normally done, and the great thing is we have a lot of individuals stepping up as leaders,” Jones said at SEC Media Days. “Like I said, picking the individuals to be here today wasn’t an easy task.
“There was a number of individuals that deserved that right to be here today …. it has been a group effort from a leadership standpoint.”
As for the three seniors present — defensive back Emmanuel Moseley, offensive lineman Jashon Robertson and defensive lineman Kendal Vickers — Jones felt they were symbolic of the program’s growth since he was named coach after the 2012 season.
“It’s very fitting we’d bring them,” Jones said. “But you look at how far these three have come, you look at Kendal Vickers, I still remember him running around catching a football at 215 pounds, and Emmanuel Moseley at 145 pounds, a wishbone quarterback that won a [high school] state championship.
“Jashon Robertson came to us as a defensive lineman, and his first week of practice, due to our lack of depth, we move him to the offensive line and he becomes a freshman All-American, so we’re very proud of these individuals.”
So proud that these players likely will resurface as game captains.
“Leadership is the key to any successful football team, and for us it has been leadership by our entire team, and it starts with our 17 seniors,” Jones said. “They’ve done a great job of educating our younger players about the expectations.
“This is the best collective leadership we’ve had in our program to date.”