NCF Nation: Daniel Hood

Tennessee opens fall camp

August, 3, 2011
8/03/11
9:29
AM ET
Tennessee was the first SEC team to open preseason practice on Tuesday, and the UTsports.com website has a complete rundown, including video of Derek Dooley's post-practice comments and links to stories from different media outlets around the state.

It sounds like sophomore Daniel Hood is serious about making an impact at defensive tackle. Hood, who's listed at 293 pounds now, made the switch from offensive line and is one of the players Dooley complimented.

Junior safety Janzen Jackson also made a big impact in his first day back. He missed all of spring practice after withdrawing from school last semester to deal with personal issues.

"I think what benefits the team is just his energy level," Dooley said of Jackson. "It rubs off on people. He's first in everything. He has good enthusiasm. He's active. He loves competing. He's everything you look for in a competitor on the field."

After suffering his second torn Achilles tendon, senior defensive end Ben Martin was back on Haslam Field for the first practice. The Cincinnati native missed last season after his first torn Achilles suffered in August 2010. Then in February, he suffered the same injury on the foot causing him to miss spring practice.

"It felt really good to be back on the field with the guys," Martin said. "It felt good to be a part of the team again, going through the drills and getting yelled at by the coaches, it felt good again."

Martin took a moment to collect himself when asked about what `the moment' was that he felt like he was back.

"Probably when we were going through the first set of drills and I realized I was tired -- this is what football is supposed to feel like," Martin said. "I had my helmet, my mouth piece, that's what football is. I wasn't hesitant -- that's how you get hurt. I do think about limitations and have to know what my limits are .... But I am a football player, I just want to get back out there and play."

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray said he's up to 202 pounds, and one of the battles to watch this August will be at safety. Junior Prentiss Waggner, who had five interceptions last season, will be vying with Jackson and Brent Brewer for one of the starting jobs. It could be that Waggner settles in as a nickelback. He's also played some at cornerback, so his versatility should come in handy for the Vols this season.

They also have junior college newcomers Byron Moore and Izauea Lanier, both of whom are expected to contribute right away in the secondary.
With spring officially over in the SEC world, it’s time to take another look at some of the guys who surprised this spring.

After the first weekend of spring games, guys like LSU wide receiver Kadron Boone and South Carolina offensive lineman A.J. Cann drew high praise from their respective coaches.

Here’s a look at the players from the past two weeks of spring games who helped get their names out there:

Alabama

RB Eddie Lacy -- Last season, Lacy’s production was hindered because of a problem with fumbling. Lacy helped shake that stigma with a strong spring and appears to have secured the No. 2 running back spot. He finished the spring game with 74 yards (44 rushing, 30 receiving).

WR Brandon Gibson -- The fifth-year senior had a productive spring not only at wideout, but he’s becoming more of a leader for the Tide. He's always been a special-teams workhorse, but he's looking to make a name at receiver. He recorded five catches for 53 yards, including a long of 27, in Alabama’s spring game.

Arkansas

S Eric Bennett -- The sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., made it a battle this spring at the strong safety position with senior Elton Ford. Bennett was a quarterback in high school and has an edge to him that all coaches like. Whether he wins the starting job or not, he’s proved that he can help the Hogs in the secondary in 2011.

RB Ronnie Wingo, Jr. -- With the season Knile Davis had a year ago, a lot of people forgot about Wingo. But he came back this spring and showed his big-play capability both as a ball carrier and pass-catcher. He rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries in the spring game.

Auburn

DE Joel Bonomolo – The junior college transfer was injured all of 2010, and while he’s still a bit raw, he led the defense during the spring game with six tackles, three for a loss, including two sacks. He still has some things to learn, but he finished the spring on the right track heading into the offseason.

RB Anthony Morgan -- Morgan has moved all over the field during his Auburn career, but seemed to make a statement at running back this spring. He finished the spring game with a team-high 57 yards on six carries, and if he continues to improve, coach Gene Chizik said he could earn playing time this fall.

Georgia

DT Kwame Geathers -- The sophomore noseguard was one of the biggest surprises of the spring for the Bulldogs. He was named the defensive MVP for spring practice by Georgia’s coaches and had four tackles, including two for loss, in the spring game.

RB Ken Malcome -- Injured for part of the spring and seemingly buried on the depth chart, Malcome showed some of his bulldozing ability in the spring game. He's the kind of downhill runner the Bulldogs want in their offense, and if he's healthy he could contribute. He scored the game-winning, 12-yard touchdown and finished with 39 yards on the ground.

Kentucky

DE Collins Ukwu -- A starter a year ago, Ukwu only had one sack all season and none in SEC games. Look for that to change in 2011. He’s gotten bigger and stronger, adding to his great speed, and was a force this spring. He had two tackles for loss, including a sack, in the spring game.

WR Brian Adams -- The Wildcats were looking for dependable playmakers at receiver following the loss of Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews, and even though Adams split his time between football and baseball, he was as consistent as anybody. He was the star of the spring game with seven catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

Ole Miss

WR Vincent Sanders -- The redshirt freshman looked like the playmaker the Rebels had desperately searched for at times this spring. Like most of the other receivers, he was inconsistent at times, but finished the spring game with a game-high 96 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.

S Brishen Mathews -- Mathews worked his way into the No. 1 strong safety spot exiting spring. He was a pleasant surprise for the Rebels’ secondary and finished the spring game tying for a game-high eight tackles.

Tennessee

DT Daniel Hood -- After spending last season on the offensive line, Hood moved to defense and exited the spring as one of the starters at tackle. The Vols are extremely thin inside on the defensive line, and Hood gives them another big, athletic body in there.

RB Rajion Neal -- After carrying the ball just 46 times last season, Neal emerged this spring as a nice complement to Tauren Poole. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is looking for two No. 1' at running back, and Neal showed some big-play ability the Vols were missing a year ago.

Vanderbilt

DT Colt Nichter -- With the injuries the Commodores were forced to weather up front last season, Nichter stepped in and played very well. But this spring, he showed signs of becoming a star and was a disruptive presence in every scrimmage. He had two sacks and two pass breakups in the spring game.

RB Wesley Tate -- The two big names in the Commodores’ backfield last season were Warren Norman and Zac Stacy, but get ready to add a third name to that equation. The 225-pound Tate showcased power and speed this spring and will add a different dimension to the Vanderbilt running game now that he’s healthy.

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Taking a look at the latest happenings around the SEC:

  • Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun breaks down the SEC coming out of the spring and picks Florida to beat Alabama in an SEC Championship Game rematch.

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Making the rounds in the SEC:

  • Alabama signee Nico Johnson, a highly rated linebacker prospect from Andalusia, Ala., has turned himself into police on a misdemeanor charge of harassment. 
  • Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News writes that Florida's Urban Meyer could learn a thing or two from Auburn's Gene Chizik when it comes to handling criticism.
  • If you haven't already had your fill of Tim Tebow, there's now such a thing as "TeeBows." Yes, women's underwear.

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Taking a stroll around the SEC:

  • The victim in a rape case involving Daniel Hood supports Tennessee's decision to give a scholarship to Hood, who was convicted as a juvenile on charges of aggravated rape and kidnapping.

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