One of Tennessee’s starting defenders will switch numbers in 2016 to honor a local hero.
Safety Todd Kelly Jr., a Knoxville native, will switch from No. 6 to No. 24 this season to honor former Fulton High School football player Zavian Dobson, who lost his life in December of 2015 shielding others from gunfire in his Knoxville home.
Butch Jones confirmed the number switch at his Monday, pre-camp press conference. Dobson wore No. 24 at Fulton.
Dobson, who was 15, has received local and nation recognition for his heroic act.
“That’s something that TK – we talked long and hard about it and he wanted to represent him, his family and this great community,” Jones said. “And I think it speaks volumes again for TK – I will make TK available for you after practice today and I think you need to hear that from him – but I don’t want to speak for him and his character. But I think it speaks volumes for his character, but also for the Dobson family and how close they are to our family.”
Tennessee begins fall practice at 6:10 pm ET on Monday evening.