KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Kaelan Hunt came to Tennessee’s “Arsenal” QB camp on Saturday looking to find an edge for the upcoming competition he’ll face when Morristown East High School opens fall drills.
Hunt quickly found himself learning to handle big-time college football duties with coach Butch Jones and the Vols staff looking on.
“It was a new experience,” said the 6-foot, 180-pound Hunt, whose previous experience was at the junior varsity level. “I’ve never been in anything like this, having these coaches here watching right over me, it was a lot of pressure.
“I just tried to go out there and show what I was made of.”
If Hunt were to somehow play out his dream and wind up at Tennessee, he’s quite familiar with a former Morristown East quarterback who blazed the same trail, playing for the Vols and winning a national championship calling plays for the team.
“Oh yeah, we all know Randy Sanders,” Hunt said, referencing the former UT quarterback, recruiting coordinator, assistant coach and offensive coordinator. “We’ve got like a hall of fame, like the main hallway going to the cafeteria, and we’ve got Randy Sanders on the wall. He’s in his coaching gear, his Florida State stuff.”
Sanders, 50, is the only person to wear a national title ring from the first BCS championship game (1998) and the last (2013, with the Seminoles). He currently serves as Florida State’s quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.
Sanders was a star at Morristown East, where he threw for more than 4,000 yards en route to being ranked one of the nation’s top 100 players in his class. Sanders was mostly a backup during his playing career at Tennessee (1984-88), though he earned SEC academic honors all four years and then-coach Johnny Majors quickly selected him for a coaching position.
Sanders stepped up for Tennessee in 1998 when he was pressed into taking over offensive coordinator duties for the Vols prior to the national championship game against Florida State.
Sanders’ play-calling helped guide Tee Martin and UT to a 23-16 win over the Seminoles after David Cutcliffe abruptly left the staff to take the Ole Miss head coaching job.
Hunt said he’d like to attend a Florida State camp and get a chance to meet Sanders, but he left Knoxville with stars in his eyes on Saturday.
“There were a lot of things (Joshua) Dobbs taught me,” Hunt said. “(Backup quarterbacks) Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones were there, too. This was just awesome.”