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A former Tennessee Volunteer and 10-year NFL veteran is taking his talents to Oak Ridge, TN. According to a tweet from Oak Ridge High School Athletics on Thursday morning, VFL Robert Ayers Jr. will be joining the Wildcats as their new defensive coordinator.
“ORHS welcomes our new Defensive Coordinator, VFL and former NFL player Robert Ayers, Jr,” Oak Ridge said in a tweet from Thursday. “Let’s get to work!”
After the announcement was made, the Oak Ridge Football account also wrote out a message for their new defensive coordinator.
“Welcome to the Ridge Coach Robert Ayers,” the account tweeted on Thursday. “Lots of new faces will be on staff and lots of work to be done. Players get ready and let’s get it done. Whatever it takes! Alright Cats let’s make Coach Ayers feel at home by blowing his Twitter up @1_900_ayersjr #RollWildcatsRoll“
Welcome to the Ridge Coach Robert Ayers. Lots of new faces will be on staff and lots of work to be done. Players get ready and let’s get it done. Whatever it takes!
Alright Cats let’s make Coach Ayers feel at home by blowing his Twitter up @1_900_ayersjr #RollWildcatsRoll https://t.co/Gw3yMIFtau
— OakRidgeWildcatFootball (@ORHSWildcats) January 20, 2022
Ayers joins the Oak Ridge staff after a lengthy and successful football-playing career. In 2004, Ayers joined the Tennessee football program after growing up in both New Jersey and South Carolina. Throughout his four-year career in Knoxville, Ayers was consistently a valuable piece to Tennessee’s defense, whether he was in the starting lineup or not. Ayers became Tennessee’s starting right defensive end during his senior season and was a First-Team All-SEC selection in 2008.
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After his Tennessee career put him on the map, Ayers was then determined to take his career to the next level. And thanks to his impressive resume of work in Knoxville, teams were already preparing for Ayers to hit the NFL Draft.
With the eighteenth pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Ayers from the University of Tennessee.
Over the course of the next ten years, Ayers found success with three different NFL franchises. Ayers was with the Broncos from 2009 to 2013, the New York Giants from 2014 to 2015, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2016 to 2017. Then, after being unable to lock down a roster spot with the Detriot Lions in 2018, Ayers announced his retirement from the NFL after a long and productive career.
In total, Ayers finished his NFL career with 34.5 sacks, with the most (9) coming in 2015 with the New York Giants.
Oak Ridge is a city in the Knoxville metropolitan area and is only about 30 minutes northeast of Knoxville.