Loyalty No Challenge For Vols Who Have Stayed With The Program

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Everyone who stayed with the Tennessee football program after the coaching change appears to be happy that they did.

Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen, of course. The Volunteers finished 3-7 last season. Translation: New coach Josh Huepel has plenty of work to do. But hey, the fact people seem to like the way things are going is a good start.

Granted, some of the top rushers and tacklers departed from the team after Jeremy Pruitt and his entire staff were given the old heave-ho amidst an NCAA investigation.

Others considered it as well.

“I did talk to my parents about what they thought was best for me from the outside looking in,” senior cornerback Alontae Taylor said, via the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “It really just came down to this being my home state and that the ‘Power T’ means a lot to me, so whoever that new coaching staff was going to be, I was going to make sure I stayed here as a leader. I just wanted to keep the guys who stayed here positive.”

Taylor then said something that Huepel and everyone who cares about Tennessee football wanted to hear.

“We have good things coming for us, and we shouldn’t just run from it,” he insisted.

Receiver Velus Jones Jr. seconded those sentiments, indicating Tennessee is his home and that he won’t run away from home.

“There was a lot going on, and I just prayed on it,” Jones said. “I know God wants me here for a reason, and I’m going to stick it out. I just kept praying and praying, but I wasn’t going to leave Tennessee. Like I said, it was like my home, and it was a top choice for me coming out of high school, and now that I’m here, it’s like a dream come true.

“When the UCF coaches came and had those top-five offenses in the country for the past couple of years — I just think everything happens for a reason, and I just know great things are going to come.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.

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