May is here. Spring practice is over for the Tennessee Vols football team, so it’s in full offseason mode along with basketball. However, that doesn’t mean is still won’t generate news. Also, success on the diamond continues to make UT athletics relevant right now.
Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with both. We’ve got coverage of former football players landing in the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, we’ve got a recap of another series win for baseball and an upcoming rubber match in an ongoing softball series.
Beyond those three sports, a new head coach also makes news for Big Orange Country over the weekend. We’ll cover that hire and finish with recaps in track and field and rowing. Simply put, there’s plenty of news to cover. Let’s start with football.
Five Vols selected in NFL Draft – Patrick Brown, GoVols247
Alontae Taylor was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft, followed by Velus Jones Jr. in the third, Matthew Butler in the fifth and Cade Mays and Theo Jackson taken in the sixth. It’s the most Tennessee Vols football players taken in one draft since six went in 2017.
The projected contract value for Tennessee’s five draft picks is more than $24.1 million with guaranteed signing bonuses totaling more than $4.1 million.
Tony Vitello, Ben Joyce, Jordan Beck talk Auburn win – Ben McKee, VolQuest
Thanks to six home runs Friday in a 17-4 win and a late homer along with clutch power pitching Sunday, the Tennessee Vols baseball team took two of three from the Auburn Tigers over the weekend to improve to 40-4 and 19-2 overall . Tony Vitello talked about why Auburn gave them a fight all weekend. Here’s a bit of what he said.
“Yeah, I knew what was coming. And that’s what I was kind of rambling about [earlier], but I was gonna say, it’d be pretty interesting to see both teams, you know, neutral-site, both sides healthy, you know, what kind of series you’d have. Not that this one wasn’t phenomenal. But we expected it. I mean, well-coached, play hard, a lot of talent up and down 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 also clocking the fastest pitch ever in college baseball at 105.5 MPH. Here’s a bit of what he said.
“I know I have a great defense behind me. I know they’re going to make plays for me back there, so it gives you a lot of confidence as a pitcher just to know you can throw strikes.”
Beck, who hails from Hazel Green, Ala., talked about what it means to win the series this year against Auburn after doing so two weeks ago against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
“That was one of the two schools that I always watched growing up, and I enjoy it, and it gives me a little juice.”
Softball set for rubber match with Ole Miss – Ken Lay, VolsWire.com
After losing 5-4 on Saturday, the Tennessee Lady Vols defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 10-1 on the road on Sunday. At 7 pm ET this evening, the two will face off again in Oxford, Miss., for a rubber match to see who wins the series. They won Sunday off a barrage of home runs and elite pitching.
Ashley Morgan hit two home runs and Rylee West had a three-run home run and an RBI double for Tennessee.
Tennessee pitcher Ashley Rogers had a no-hitter entering the fourth inning.
Joe Kirt named soccer head coach – Josh Lane, UT Daily Beacon
Longtime assistant coach Joe Kirt has been promoted to Tennessee Lady Vols soccer head coach. Kirt replaces Brian Pensky, who was named head coach of the Florida State Seminoles.
Kirt has been an assistant coach with Tennessee since 2007. Over his tenure, he helped guide the Lady Vols to two SEC Tournament championships, two SEC Eastern Division championships and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Tennessee has produced nine All-Americans and 33 All-SEC selections during Kirt’s 15 seasons on Rocky Top.
Track and Field wraps up busy weekend – UTSports
On Friday and Saturday, the Tennessee Vols outdoor track and field program had players taking part in three different events. They went athletes to the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Va., and the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
True freshman Favor Ashe ran the fifth-fastest all-conditions time in collegiate history in the men’s 100-meter dash 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 finishes in the women’s and men’s shot puts. Maines threw 17.51m (57-5.5) to claim her second-place spot in the College Women’s Shot Put Championship.
Rowing finishes regular season – UTSports
This past weekend, the Tennessee Lady Vols rowing program was in Princeton, NJ, to take part in the Princeton Invitational. UT now has a weekend off before beginning postseason play.
Tennessee finished the event with a pair of third-place finishes in the first varsity four (8:27.5) and second varsity four races.
Up next, the Lady Vols head to Austin, Texas, to compete in the Big 12 Championship on May 15.