Jan 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Nico Iamaleava (8) poses with the MVP Trophy after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NCAA eyeing Tennessee for possible NIL violations

The NCAA is investigating the Tennessee football program for possible NIL violations, Sports Illustrated and CBS reported Tuesday.

According to reports, the case centers around quarterback Nico Iamaleava, a Class of 2023 five-star recruit.

Iamaleava signed a lucrative name, image and likeness deal with Spyre Sports Group, Tennessee’s primary collective.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported last year that Iamaleava’s NIL deal was worth $8 million.

Tennessee has not received a formal notice of allegations from the NCAA, the university told news outlets.

Iamaleava appeared in five games for the Volunteers in the 2023 season. The freshman was named the Citrus Bowl MVP after rushing for three touchdowns and passing for one touchdown in a 35-0 win against Iowa on Jan. 1.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III (7) passes the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Tennessee crushes UConn, 59-3

Joe Milton III passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another and No. 17 Tennessee produced three defensive scores while pummeling UConn 59-3 on Saturday afternoon in nonconference action at Knoxville, Tenn.

Jaylen Wright rushed for 113 yards, including a long scoring run for the Volunteers (7-2), who won for the fifth time in six games. Squirrel White and Ramel Keyton caught lengthy touchdown passes and McCallan Castles also had a scoring grab for Tennessee.

Tyler Baron returned a fumble for a touchdown and Jaylen McCollough and Aaron Beasley each had interception returns for scores for the Volunteers. Milton completed 11 of 14 passes for 254 yards in one half of play.

Ta’Quan Roberson was 24-of-40 passing for 218 yards and two interceptions for the Huskies (1-8), who lost their third straight game.

Tennessee outgained the Huskies 650 to 256.

The Volunteers led by 32 at halftime and piled on with two defensive scores in the first 3:09 of the third quarter.

McCullough intercepted Roberson at the 30-yard line on the first play of the quarter and he returned it for the score.

Just three minutes later, Beasley recorded the pick-six with the grab and 39-yard return to make it 49-3.

Backup quarterback Nico Iamaleava threw his first career touchdown pass, hitting Castles from 19 yards out, to boost the lead to 53 with 7:30 left in the third quarter. The Volunteers cruised the rest of the way.

Tennessee outgained UConn 402 to 200 in the first half while scoring on three offense plays of 60 or more yards.

Wright broke loose up the middle on the second play of the game and raced 82 yards for a touchdown.

After UConn’s Noe Ruelas kicked a 22-yard field goal, Keyton was wide open down the field and caught Milton’s pass at the Huskies’ 20 and strolled in for a 60-yard score to make it 14-3 with 1:38 left in the quarter.

Milton scored on a 6-yard run midway through the second quarter and then hooked up with White on an 83-yard scoring play to make it 28-3 with 4:34 remaining in the half. Just 64 seconds later, Baron scored on a 24-yard fumble to account for the 35-3 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee defensive back Kamal Hadden (5) raises his hands in the air during a football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. Mandatory Credit: Saul Young-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee CB Kamal Hadden (shoulder surgery) out for season

Tennessee starting cornerback Kamal Hadden will miss the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery Thursday.

Hadden, a redshirt senior, was hurt in Thursday’s 34-20 loss at then-No. 11 Alabama. He had racked up three interceptions through seven games, including a pick-6 against South Carolina.

Hadden is tied for third in all of FBS with 11 passes defended.

“I was just getting comfortable, the work was just starting to show, I was showing the world what I already knew,” Hadden wrote in an Instagram post. “My last year, my bag year, and I strike out. I feel like I let everybody down. The fam, gang, the team, everybody. But I always took the longer route, I always was in a fight with adversity, I always had it a lil harder, I always wanted it a lil tougher cause at the end the win a lil more greater.”

Hadden had six interceptions in three seasons with the Volunteers.

Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) will visit Kentucky on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) gets sacked behind the line of scrimmage by Tennessee Volunteers defensive lineman Omarr Norman-Lott (55) during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Second-half surge carries No. 11 Alabama past No. 17 Tennessee

Jalen Milroe passed for two touchdowns, Jihaad Campbell returned a fumble for a score and No. 11 Alabama overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to record a 34-20 victory over No. 17 Tennessee in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jase McClellan rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries to help the Crimson Tide (7-1, 5-0 SEC) win their sixth consecutive game. Isaiah Bond and Jermaine Burton caught scoring passes and Chris Braswell had two sacks for Alabama, which scored 27 unanswered points in the second half.

Joe Milton III was 28-of-41 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns and added 59 rushing yards for Tennessee (5-2, 2-2), which had a three-game winning streak halted. Squirrel White had 10 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown and McCallan Castles also had a scoring catch for the Volunteers.

Alabama has won 16 of the past 17 meetings with Tennessee.

Milroe completed 14 of 21 passes for 220 yards and an interception. The Crimson Tide defense stopped Tennessee on three fourth-down opportunities.

The Volunteers have lost 10 straight games at Tuscaloosa.

McClellan began the third quarter with a 29-yard run and Milroe followed with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bond to bring the Crimson Tide within 20-14.

Will Reichard kicked a 42-yard field goal with 8:33 left in the third to make it a three-point game. McClellan later scored on a 5-yard run to give Alabama its first lead — 24-20 with 3:42 left in the period.

Reichard tacked on a 50-yard field goal to make it a seven-point margin with 8:17 left in the game. That stretched his streak of consecutive makes to 28.

On Tennessee’s next possession, Braswell rushed in to sack Milton and force a fumble. Campbell picked up the ball and raced 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Crimson Tide a 34-20 lead with 7:26 remaining.

Tennessee outgained Alabama 187-36 in the opening quarter while taking a 13-0 lead.

The Volunteers opened the game with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by White’s spectacular 39-yard TD grab.

Charles Campbell kicked field goals of 24 and 26 yards later in the period for the Volunteers. The second was set up by a strip-sack from James Pearce Jr., with Omarr Lott recovering Milroe’s fumble at the Alabama 23.

The Crimson Tide got on the board when Milroe threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Burton with 7:05 left in the second quarter. Tennessee restored the lead to 13 when Milton tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Castles with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee defensive back Dee Williams (3) runs into the end zone for a touchdown during a football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

Special teams, defense lift No. 19 Tennessee past Texas A&M

Tennessee’s Dee Williams posted the go-ahead score on a punt return, and Gabe Jeudy-Lally and Kamal Hadden snatched fourth-quarter interceptions as the No. 19 Volunteers held off the Texas A&M Aggies 20-13 on Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Volunteers (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) saw Joe Milton III go just 11-for-22 for 100 yards with a touchdown pass to Jacob Warren.

Jaylen Wright produced 136 yards on 19 carries for the conference’s top rushing team, which had 237 yards on 48 attempts.

Quarterback Max Johnson was 16-for-34 for 223 yards and rushed for a score but was picked off twice as Texas A&M (4-3, 2-2) lost for the second straight week.

Josh DeBerry recorded an interception for the Aggies.

On a wild scramble to end his team’s first possession, Johnson rolled right, reversed field and went head-first to the pylon from 2 yards out for a 7-0 lead at 8:29 on an 80-yard drive — his first rushing TD since 2021.

The home side took advantage of a short field to drive 51 yards on its second series for a tie. Milton found tight end Warren on a 7-yard pass for his third scoring reception at 1:44.

After converting a third-and-17 pass to Noah Thomas in the second quarter, Johnson led the Aggies down to Randy Bond’s FBS-leading 14th field goal, a 41-yarder at 10:48.

Texas A&M’s defense stiffened and stopped Tennessee on a turnover on downs at the Aggies 18 in the first quarter. Vols kicker Charles Campbell also missed a 51-yard field in the second.

After a Tennessee punt backed up the Aggies inside their 1 midway through the third, the Vols forced a punt after three straight plays produced no yardage.

Williams fielded the short punt and raced 39 yards for the first Tennessee lead at 6:47, but Bond answered on the ensuing drive with a 24-yard kick to make it 14-13.

However, with a chance to put the Aggies ahead with 8:34 left, Bond pulled a 50-yard attempt wide left.

Campbell’s two field goals — from 31 and 24 yards — inside the final four minutes and interceptions by Jeudy-Lally and Hadden sealed the Vols’ third straight win and third in five meetings with the Aggies.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright (0) is swarmed by Florida defenders during a football game between Tennessee and Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

No. 23 Tennessee aims to tidy up loose ends vs. UTSA

Tumbling 12 spots in the rankings on the heels of a loss at Florida, No. 23 Tennessee efforts to avoid self-inflicted wounds when it faces UTSA on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Volunteers (2-1) were outscored 20-0 in the second quarter and lost their Southeastern Conference opener to the Gators, 29-16, despite holding a 387-349 edge in total yards.

Ten penalties, several communication errors and the game’s only turnover — the first interception of the season by Joe Milton III — offset Tennessee’s yardage advantage.

“You look at, offensively in particular, self-inflicted wounds — that can be penalties, that can be unforced errors, it can be communication — our percentage is way too high,” Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said Monday. “It was on Saturday, and it really was the week before, too. That’s why you move the ball at times, but you don’t have very many points. We got to clean that up. You can’t beat yourself.”

Tennessee was flagged for five false starts and was forced to use two timeouts in the third quarter to avoid delay-of-game penalties. The Volunteers finished 0-for-3 on fourth-down conversions, all in the second half.

“At the end of the day, we got to find a solution to it,” Heupel said. “I told the players this today, too, it’s not the big things — and those are big things, don’t get me wrong — but it’s the subtle details in everything that we’re doing. Everybody can’t take their turn of being off. We got to become a unit that plays 11 together all of the time.”

Tennessee hopes to clean things up in its first-ever meeting with UTSA before diving back into the conference slate at home against South Carolina on Sept. 30.

The Roadrunners (1-2) never had the lead in Friday’s 37-29 loss to Army in San Antonio.

UTSA starting quarterback Frank Harris missed the game with a turf toe injury, snapping a streak of 36 straight starts for a player with nearly 10,000 career passing yards.

“We’ll see how he looks,” Roadrunners coach Jeff Traylor said Monday of Harris’ availability for the Tennessee trip. “If he’s not 100 percent, he will not play.”

Backup Eddie Lee Marburger passed for 239 yards and three long touchdowns (44, 46 and 72 yards) against Army, but the Black Knights rushed for 254 yards and had a nearly 3-to-1 edge in time of possession (44:25 to 15:35).

This is the final non-conference game for UTSA, which has an open date next weekend before making its American Athletic Conference debut at Temple on Oct. 7.

Traylor said the idea of saving Harris for the conference season is not a consideration.

“That sounds great, but there’s no way you’re going to keep a kid like Frank Harris off the football field if he’s 100 percent,” Traylor said, per the San Antonio Express-News. “You never want to sit a kid that’s 100 percent just to save him for something. You have to get better.”

The Roadrunners opened the week as nearly three-touchdown underdogs at Rocky Top. For what it’s worth, UTSA lost two of its first three games last season, too, before finishing 11-3.

–Field Level Media

The helmet of Florida Gators wide receiver Ja'Quavion Fraziars (0) before the game against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sunday, October 2, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs Eastern Washington Eagles

Three Florida players, one Tennessee player suspended over fight

The Southeastern Conference suspended four players for one half of their upcoming games over their roles in a scuffle at the end of Florida’s 29-16 win over then-No. 11 Tennessee last Saturday.

The SEC released a statement Monday saying Florida offensive linemen Damieon George Jr. and Micah Mazzccua and tight end Dante Zanders were suspended for the first half of Florida’s home game against Charlotte this Saturday. Tennessee defensive lineman Omarr Norman-Lott will sit the first half of the Volunteers’ home game against UTSA.

The four players were being punished for “flagrant unsportsmanlike actions,” according to the conference.

“The suspensions were determined after video review and consultation between the Southeastern Conference Office, the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee,” the SEC’s statement said.

Florida was in the process of sealing its win over the visiting Vols when quarterback Graham Mertz scrambled and took a knee in the final seconds. Tennessee’s Omari Thomas ran into Mertz, inciting a benches-clearing fracas in which Mazzccua threw a punch.

George and Mazzccua were Florida’s starting right tackle and right guard, respectively, to begin the season. Zanders is a backup tight end, while Norman-Lott started each of Tennessee’s past two games.

Thomas was penalized for targeting, but the officials overturned their call after review, meaning he will not be suspended for the first half of Tennessee’s game against UTSA.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee offensive lineman Mo Clipper Jr. (56) Tennessee wide receiver Squirrel White (10) and Tennessee running back Dylan Sampson (6) after a game between Tennessee and Virginia in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Tennessee defeated Virginia 49-13.

No. 9 Tennessee eager for home opener vs. Austin Peay

After a smooth start in Music City, No. 9 Tennessee returns to Rocky Top for Saturday’s home opener against Austin Peay in Knoxville.

“Looking forward to seeing 102,000 of our closest friends,” Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said. “For our program, it has been a long time since we have been inside that stadium with our fans, and we look forward to that.”

The Volunteers (1-0) kicked off the season with a 49-13 win against Virginia in Nashville last Saturday, the same day the Governors (0-1) were handed a 49-23 defeat at Southern Illinois.

Tennessee’s Joe Milton III, the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more against the Cavaliers. Jaylen Wright ran for 115 yards and Dylan Sampson scored three rushing TDs as the Volunteers outgained Virginia 499-201.

Special teams was perhaps the biggest concern this week after Josh Turbyville booted two kickoffs out of bounds and Dee Williams fumbled a punt return against Virginia.

“All in all, I thought they performed well,” Heupel said. “There were some things early in the football game that everybody saw. We were not quite in sync. We’re not far off, either. I anticipate us continuing to grow and shore those things up.”

Austin Peay, an FCS member of the new United Athletic Conference, finished 7-4 last season but was outclassed by the Salukis in Week 1. The Governors trailed 28-0 at halftime and 42-3 entering the fourth quarter before Mike DiLiello threw a couple of touchdown passes.

Austin Peay turned it over three times, including an interception returned for a touchdown, and managed only 39 rushing yards on 23 carries. SIU outgained Austin Peay by a 432-253 margin and had a 15:20 advantage in time of possession.

“It starts with me,” Governors coach Scotty Walden said. “I want to apologize to Gov nation, our fan base, our school. This place deserves better and we’re going to give them better every week.”

DiLiello passed for 2,480 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 446 yards and eight scores last season, when Austin Peay posted games with 38, 41, 52 and 63 points.

“Defensively, (we) have to handle tempo,” Heupel said of the Governors. “They will spread the football field, RPO game. We have to do a really good job on perimeter screens, defeat blocks and make tackles in space. The line of scrimmage will be everything for us.”

Volunteers receiver Squirrel White left with an injury in the second half against Virginia but Heupel said he could have returned if necessary. Tennessee played without starting center Cooper Mays and defensive lineman Elijah Simmons and their status for Saturday is unclear.

Tennessee thumped Austin Peay 45-0 on Aug. 31, 2013, in the only previous meeting between the programs.

Tennessee will unveil its new “Artful Dodger” Smokey Grey uniforms on Saturday to honor trailblazing Volunteers quarterback Condredge Holloway, the first Black player to start under center for an SEC program. From 1972-74, he guided UT to a 25-9-2 record as a starter while passing for 3,102 yards and rushing for 966.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Mike Hollins (7) carries the ball during the first half against the Richmond Spiders at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Emotional Virginia faces tall task in opener vs. No. 12 Tennessee

Virginia plays its first game without three fallen teammates Saturday when it faces No. 12 Tennessee in both teams’ season opener in Nashville, Tenn.

Running back Mike Hollins was injured in the November 2022 shooting deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry on the campus in Charlottesville, Va.

“I can only imagine the emotions that’ll be flowing through my body,” Hollins said of taking the field for the opener. “I literally have no words because the spring game, it hit me like a sack of rocks and I didn’t expect it, so I can only imagine. I’m ready, though. I’m ready for it.”

Virginia canceled its final two games last season following the tragedy and finished 3-7 in Tony Elliott’s first season as head coach, including 1-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Elliott named Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett as the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback. He passed for 5,687 yards and 51 touchdowns in 23 games with the Hawks from 2020-22. He won an offseason battle with Anthony Colandrea to replace Brennan Armstrong, who transferred to North Carolina State.

“Taking care of the football, finding completions in the pass game, getting us into a right check if necessary,” Virginia offensive coordinator Des Kitchings said of the decision to go with Muskett. “He checked the box on all those things.”

Hollins enters the season as a backup to last season’s leading rusher Perris Jones and Clemson transfer Kobe Pace.

Virginia has not posted a winning record or been to a bowl game since the 2019 season.

Tennessee, meanwhile, finished 11-2 last season and ranked No. 6 in the final Associated Press poll. The Volunteers capped the year with a 31-14 win against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

The Volunteers are four-touchdown favorites at Nissan Stadium as quarterback Joe Milton III takes over full-time for Hendon Hooker, the 2022 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and now a rookie with the Detroit Lions.

“I’m excited for him. He’s a guy that did it the right way when it didn’t go his way early on,” third-year head coach Josh Heupel said of Milton, who replaced the injured Hooker and completed 19 of 28 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns in the Orange Bowl win.

“He looked at himself and saw how he needed to continue to improve to get better, trust in his coaches and the program and believe in the guys around him inside of the locker room.”

Since transferring from Michigan after the 2020 season, Milton has passed for 1,346 yards with 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions in 17 appearances (four starts) for the Vols.

Linebacker Aaron Beasley, Tennessee’s leading tackler last year and a preseason Bednarik Award candidate, said the team is entering the season with an aggressive mindset.

“Uber aggressive, play really fast … just attacking,” he said. “We blitz a lot, so just playing in the opponents’ backfield. Affecting the line of scrimmage, affecting the quarterback, really just uber aggressive.”

Heupel said there will be a moment of silence before kickoff, and the Volunteers will wear helmet decals to honor the deceased Virginia players.

The Volunteers have a 3-1 lead in the all-time series, but this is the first meeting between the schools since Tennessee defeated Virginia 23-22 in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1990.

–Field Level Media

University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer throws the opening pitch of the of the Misstate Classic doubleheader at the Ridley Park Sports Complex in Columbia on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Ex-Tennessee coach, AD Phillip Fulmer hospitalized

Former Tennessee football coach and athletic director Phillip Fulmer has been hospitalized after an undisclosed procedure, his family said Thursday.

“Philip underwent a medical procedure Thursday at UT Medical Center,” the statement read, per the Action Network. “He is alert and in good spirits and will remain at the hospital for a few days. We are thankful for the outstanding care he’s receiving, and we also appreciate the prayers and concern of so many who have reached out. He is looking forward to cheering on the Vols as they kick off another exciting season!”

A Tennessee native, Fulmer played football at his home-state school, then later coached the Volunteers from 1992-2008. In the final 11 years of his tenure, the Vols played in the Southeastern Conference championship game five times and won the first BCS title game in 1998.

He retired with a 152-52-1 record, including 8-7 in bowl games.

Fulmer, who turns 73 on Sept. 1, also served as athletic director from 2017-21.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

–Field Level Media