Butch Jones appointed four team captains for the 2016 season during the Orange and White game on Saturday, marking the first time he’s assigned them on a permanent basis for an entire season since he’s been in Knoxville.
Team 120 will be led by captains Joshua Dobbs, Alvin Kamara, Cameron Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Jones was complimentary of these four leaders, explaining that each of them understand the high expectations the Vols are facing this year.
“They have now grown up in our football program and they understand the work capacity,” Jones said. “They understand the standards, the expectations, the style of play and they are able to now teach the younger players. When you are building a program and not a team it is completely different in terms of your older players.”
Running back Alvin Kamara was named a team captain despite this being only his second year on campus. Jones touted Kamara’s growth and enthusiasm as a major influence in the locker room.
“He’s earned it.,” Jones added. “Alvin, from day one coming in here, just worked. He immediately earned the respect of his peers by his work ethic. He’s bought in to the program. I don’t like to use the term ‘bought.’ He’s invested in the program. He’s invested in everything. When you look at it from a recruiting standpoint, he always wants to host recruits. He wants to be involved. He understands playing at Tennessee. He also understands that what we have here is pretty significant and pretty special.”
Kamara said that he was honored with the selection as captain.
“With being here for the shortest amount of time and being voted by my teammates as a team captain, it means a lot,” Kamara said. “It means that I have earned the respect of my teammates and coaches. It speaks volumes of the program. We look forward to being captains this season. I think we all see it as a challenge. We have to be better and hold ourselves to an even higher standard. This is the first time Coach Jones has done this, so it is a lot of pressure, but it is good pressure.”
Jalen Reeves-Maybin said that Tennessee is a player-led team, adding that the defensive unit has motivated each other well.
“I think we have a lot of guys who have bought in,” Reeves-Maybin said. “Some guys who might have been twos or might be playing a backup role, they’ve been meeting with (defensive coordinator Bob Shoop). It’s been fun to see it all grow. I came in as soon as Coach Jones got here. I was an early-enrollee. Just to see us take that climb from the bottom of the SEC to where we are now and have the expectations placed on us now, it’s been a fun process. I want to take us as high as we can go.”
“The number one thing in our football team is intensity,” Jones added. “We can’t assume anything. Yeah, we’re not an older, veteran group, but you never assume anything. That’s why the leadership, that’s why the captains, all that are really important. This football team has been pretty focused all spring.”