Players becoming academically ineligible is a common hazard for teams playing in the postseason after grades come out in December, but according to Butch Jones, the Vols won’t have to deal with that in the Outback Bowl this year after a strong semester in the classroom.
“Yes, everyone is bowl eligible, which is a compliment to them and a compliment to the Thornton [Academic] Center,” Jones said Saturday. “When we play Jan. 1, we will have 18 college graduates on the field of play, which we are very very proud of. Then when you look at having 57 individuals who are Vol Scholars with a 3.0 in your football program, we set the record for the highest cumulative GPA at 2.77. It’s a tribute to Dr. Joe Scogin, Dr. Brian Russell and the entire Thornton Center, but really our players. They have done a great job academically. We have a standard, we have an expectation here and it continues to get better and better.”
Receiver Jason Croom, defensive back Max Arnold, holder Patrick Ashford, receiver Johnathon Johnson, safety LaDarrell McNeil and defensive tackle Danny O’Brien are the current football players who graduated in December. Others currently on the roster either graduated over the summer or last year.