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Javontez Spraggins: Part Zookeeper, Part Security Guard

Javontez Spraggins
Tennessee offensive lineman Javontez Spraggins after the LSU win in Baton Rouge. Photo by Ric Butler/Rocky Top Insider.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears – Oh, my.

Wait… that’s not it.

Panthers, Tigers, Gators, and Elephants – Oh, my.

That’s not a problem for Tennessee’s resident zookeeper, Javontez Spraggins, though. He’s got all of those dangerous animals under control.

Spraggins has been one of Tennessee’s top offensive linemen this season holding down the right guard position. The Illinois native has been known for his fierce run-blocking and strong motor all season long. And now, after Tennessee’s 6-0 start to the season, Spraggins has a few trophies in his collection.

During a press conference on Tuesday, the Tennessee junior revealed that he has a stuffed animal collection featuring Tennessee’s downed opponents. Spraggins also said that he gives them to his mom as a gift after each win.

“I definitely do,” Spraggins said about his collection. “It’s why I call myself the Zookeeper.”

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Spraggins says it all started with the fans, though.

“The fans, man, they actually text me on Instagram,” Spraggins went on to say. “Someone will be like, ‘Hey man, I’m here. I got your animal for you. Ball out and come get it!’ And I’m like, man, alright, I’m coming to get that animal.”

Spraggins also pointed to the Florida game as the first that it began.

“I think after the Florida game I found the gator on my own or something,” Spraggins said. “I don’t know what it was, I just grabbed the gator. I don’t know if I had the flag too, but one of them was first and I just went with it. And ever since then, they were like, ‘Hey Sprags, come get this animal!'”

While the nickname was just made last week, Spraggins and the Tennessee offensive line’s impressive play has been going since the first game of the season.

Tennessee’s O-Line unit up front has not only done a great job of opening wide lanes in the running game, but they have also done a tremendous job at keeping quarterback Hendon Hooker upright in the pocket.

Spraggins and the rest of the offensive line, according to Hooker, are the security guards.

“I call them my security guards,” Hooker said of his offensive line after Saturday’s win over Alabama. “We have front door and back door security guards and they make sure that the perimeter is secure. They push through a lot. They push through me getting on them. Them being hard on themselves. They come to work everyday no matter how they feel and I can’t thank them enough.”

“Front door is Coop [Cooper Mays],” Hooker continued on to say. “Coop, Rome [Jerome Carvin], and Sprags [Javontez Spraggins]. Back door is [J.J.] Crawford, [Gerald] Mincey, and Darnell [Wright].”

Being a part-time Zookeeper, part-time security guard, and part-time Tennessee offensive lineman can’t be easy, but Javontez Spraggins is doing all three in quite an impressive fashion.

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