May is here. Spring training is over for the Tennessee Vols football team, so they’re in full offseason mode with basketball. However, that doesn’t mean it still won’t generate news. Additionally, success on the diamond continues to make UT athletics relevant right now.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads to both. We have coverage of former football players landing in the NFL Draft. In the meantime, we have a recap of another series win for baseball and an upcoming rubber game in an ongoing softball series.
Beyond those three sports, a new head coach is also in the news for Big Orange Country over the weekend. We’ll cover this rental and end with recaps in athletics and rowing. Simply put, there’s a lot of news to cover. Let’s start with football.
Five Flights selected in the NFL Draft – Patrick Brown, GoVols247
Alontae Taylor was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft, followed by Velus Jones Jr. in third, Matthew Butler in fifth, and Cade Mays and Theo Jackson in sixth. That’s the most Tennessee Vols football players taken in a single draft since six in 2017.
The projected contract value for Tennessee’s five draft picks is over $24.1 million with guaranteed signing bonuses totaling over $4.1 million.
Tony Vitello, Ben Joyce and Jordan Beck talk Auburn win – Ben McKee, VolQuest
Thanks to six homers on Friday in a 17-4 win and a late homer with a clutch power pitch on Sunday, the Tennessee Flights baseball team took two of the Auburn Tigers’ three over the weekend to move to 40-4 and 19-2 overall. . Tony Vitello explained why Auburn gave them a fight all weekend. Here is a bit of what he said.
“Yes, I knew what was coming. And that’s what I used to say a little [earlier], but I was going to say, it would be pretty interesting to see both teams, you know, neutral site, both sides healthy, you know, what kind of series you would have. Not that this one wasn’t phenomenal. But we expected it. I mean, well trained, play hard, lots of talent in the lineup.
Ben Joyce and Jordan Beck were Sunday’s heroes. Beck hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give UT a 5-3 win. Joyce finished the final four innings, allowing one hit and no runs while hitting the fastest pitch ever in college baseball at 105.5 mph. Here is a bit of what he said.
“I know I have a good defense behind me. I know they’re going to make plays for me there, so it gives you a lot of confidence as a pitcher just to know that you can throw strikes.
Beck, a native of Hazel Green, Alabama, explained what it means to win the series this year against Auburn after doing so two weeks ago against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
“It was one of two schools that I always watched growing up, and I love it, and it gives me some juice.”
Rubber Game Softball Set with Ole Miss – Ken Lay, VolsWire.com
After losing 5-4 on Saturday, the Tennessee Lady Vols beat the Ole Miss Rebels 10-1 on the road on Sunday. At 7 p.m. ET tonight, the two will face off again in Oxford, Mississippi, for a rubber match to see who will win the series. They won Sunday on a barrage of home runs and elite pitches.
Ashley Morgan hit two homers and Rylee West hit a three-run homer and an RBI double for Tennessee.
Tennessee pitcher Ashley Rogers went a no-hitter in the fourth inning.
Joe Kirt named head football coach – UT Daily Beacon Josh Lane
Longtime assistant coach Joe Kirt has been promoted to head football coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols. Kirt replaces Brian Pensky, who was named head coach of the Florida State Seminoles.
Kirt has served as Tennessee’s assistant coach since 2007. During his tenure, he helped guide the Lady Vols to two SEC Tournament championships, two SEC East Division championships and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Tennessee produced nine All-Americans and 33 All-SEC selections during Kirt’s 15 seasons on Rocky Top.
Athletics end a busy weekend – UT Sports
On Friday and Saturday, the Tennessee Vols outdoor athletics program allowed players to compete in three different events. They went athletes to the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
True freshman Favor Ashe ran the fifth-fastest all-conditions time in college history in the men’s 100 meters at the LSU Invitational to highlight a terrific Saturday of action for the Vols and Lady Vols.
At the Penn Relays, Latavia Maines and Jordan West earned second place in the women’s and men’s shot put. Maines threw 17.51m (57-5.5) to claim her second-place finish at the College Women’s Shot Put Championship.
Rowing ends regular season – UT Sports
Last weekend, the Tennessee Lady Vols rowing program was in Princeton, NJ, to compete in the Princeton Invitational. UT now has a bye weekend before starting the playoffs.
Tennessee finished the event with a pair of third-place finishes in first-four varsity (8:27.5) and second-four varsity runs.
Next, the Lady Vols will travel to Austin, Texas to compete in the Big 12 Championship on May 15.