Current and Former Vols React to Jim Chaney News

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    (Photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

    Tennessee has reportedly hired Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to be their new offensive coordinator. And as you can imagine, there was plenty of reaction online to the news.

    The news was first reported by 247Sports on Tuesday evening, and a formal announcement from UT is expected on Wednesday. Chaney has been Georgia’s offensive coordinator the last three seasons, and he was Tennessee’s OC and quarterbacks coach during the Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley tenures from 2009 through 2012. He’s also been the OC at Purdue, Arkansas, and Pittsburgh in college.

    Several of Chaney’s former players at Tennessee were happy to see him return to Knoxville.

    Ja’Wuan James, an offensive lineman for the Miami Dolphins who played for the Vols from 2010-13, welcomed Chaney back to Tennessee. James played under Chaney for three of his four years at UT. James made 49 consecutive starts for the Vols and got drafted in the first round by the Dolphins in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    Jacob Carter played wide receiver for the Vols from 2010-14, and he started an interesting thread on Twitter where he gave Chaney a ton of credit for his and UT’s offensive success when he was the OC at Tennessee. Carter caught 13 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown in 31 games for the Vols, and he returned 15 punts for 120 yards. The bulk of his production as a receiver came under Chaney’s tutelage, as he caught eight passes for 126 yards and a score in 2012.

    Zach Rogers was also a receiver who played for Tennessee while Chaney was in Knoxville originally. Rogers played for Tennessee during Chaney’s entire tenure at UT, and he had a strong senior season in 2012, catching 32 passes for 491 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished his Tennessee career with 63 receptions for 906 yards and nine scores in 48 career games.

    Even former Vols who didn’t play with Chaney were excited about him coming back to Tennessee.

    Aaron Hayden was a successful running back for the Vols from 1991-94, totaling 2,061 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in his four years as a Vol. He, along with many Vol fans, pleaded Chaney to bring Georgia and former Tennessee offensive line coach Sam Pittman with him to Knoxville. Hayden would go on to clarify that he’s a fan of current Tennessee offensive line coach Will Friend despite his desire to see Pittman back at UT.

    Former Vol linebacker Curt Maggitt was on Tennessee’s roster when Chaney was in Knoxville, but he wasn’t coached by Chaney. Maggitt played linebacker and defensive end at UT, and his first two years as a Vol coincided with Chaney’s tenure. Maggitt played for the Vols from 2011 till 2015, totaling 141 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles in 35 games.

    Jalen Reeves-Maybin just missed being at Tennessee along with Chaney. Reeves-Maybin joined the Vols in 2013 and played until 2016 before being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2017 NFL Draft. In 41 games with the Vols, JRM totaled 240 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, eight sacks, five passes defended, two forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, a blocked punt, and an interception.

    Former Vol running back Jabari Davis was clearly a big fan of Tennessee’s move to bring back Chaney as OC. Davis played for Phillip Fulmer and the Vols from 2001-04 and totaled 1,228 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in his four years with Tennessee.

    Former Vol Leonard Little has an interesting connection with Chaney. He didn’t play with the Vols when Chaney was in Knoxville, but he did play with Chaney in the NFL. Little was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and he played for the Rams until 2009. Jim Chaney was on staff with the Rams from 2006 till 2008. Little was an All-American for the Vols in 1997.

    Former Vol offensive lineman Jacques McClendon called Chaney’s hire a “home run” for Tennessee. McClendon played for Tennessee from 2006-09 and was a full-time starter for the Vols in Chaney’s first season as UT’s offensive coordinator in 2009. McClendon started 26 games and appeared in 49 total games at Tennessee. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and bounced around several rosters for seven seasons. He’s now the Director of Player Engagement for the Los Angeles Rams.

    Even current Vols reacted to the news.

    Current Tennessee defensive lineman Emmit Gooden tweeted out a reaction gif to the news of Chaney’s reported hire. Gooden made 33 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a sack in his first year with the Vols this past season after joining them in the 2018 class as a four-star JUCO defensive lineman.

    2019 Vol signee and early enrollee Chris Akporoghene expressed his excitement with a gif as well. Akporoghene was a three-star offensive tackle for IMG Academy this past year and signed with UT in December. He’s enrolled in classes for January and will be with the Vols this spring.

    Another new Vol weighed in on the hire as well. Aubrey Solomon, a defensive tackle who is transferring from Michigan to Tennessee, quoted Tennessee’s tweet officially announcing the hire of Jim Chaney. Solomon played two seasons at Michigan and was a five-star coming out of high school in the 2017 class. Right now, he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season for UT unless he can get a waiver from the NCAA.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.