Happy birthday and a tip of my complimentary orange cap to Jim Haslam.
At 93 he is the oldest former Volunteer football player and, in my mind, the most generous contributor (leadership and millions) to the university and Tennessee athletics.
Jim was an offensive tackle on the great teams of 1950 and 1951 and captain of the 1952 team, a not too shabby 8-2-1, the end of the Robert R. Neyland era.
For perspective only, I tell you I saw those teams and can verify that all-American tailback Hank Lauricella ran many, many yards behind Haslam and got only minimum grass stain on his white britches.
Former Georgia dual-threat quarterback Brock Vandagriff is transferring to Kentucky. He sat behind Carson Beck this season and attempted just 18 passes, completing 12 for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
In times past, Brock visited the Vols. He has local connections. His father, Greg Vandagriff, went to Halls High School.
Black on black: Dion Sanders played his race card to wrap up the recruitment of the No. 1 offensive tackle in high school football, Jordan Seaton from IMG Academy in Florida.
“You claim you a dawg, why you not coming to Colorado? Why you not helping somebody who look like you?”
Tennessee and Alabama were among the runners-up.
Josh Heupel can’t say what Neon Dion said. Somebody would declare that as racism. Coach Prime is coated in Teflon.
Former Vol and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten led Argyle Liberty Christian to a Texas state championship and its first-ever perfect season (14-0) in his third year as coach. Two Witten sons are on the team.
“Football’s changed my life,” said Witten. “It’s given me so much over the years.”
Witten didn’t say it but I’m telling you he was one of the greatest tight ends of all time. He played 255 games for the Cowboys. He caught 18 passes on one Sunday against the New York Giants.
After three seasons at Tennessee and 17 as a professional, Jason endured one year as analyst for Monday Night Football television. He turned down NFL and college coaching offers but said yes to the Dallas-area school where he and his wife wanted their children to attend.
He is a genuine legend. The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award honors a player who shows strong leadership qualities on and off the field.
East Tennessee State University will pay a $400,000 buyout to recently dismissed football coach George Quarles. He did a lot of things right for the Bucs but had back-to-back 3-8 seasons.
Before ETSU, Quarles was associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Furman University, where he played.
Before that, he was coach for 18 seasons at Maryville High School. He recorded a stunning record of 250-16. He guided Maryville to 11 state championships and won at least 10 games every season.
In a little hot streak, the Rebels won 74 in a row and four consecutive state titles. He was the winningest high school coach in America over the 10-year period from 2007 to 2016.
Lane Kiffin was spotted running loose in Knoxville the other day, no police escort, no mustard containers or golf balls near his feet.
The Ole Miss coach did not announce what the heck he was doing here. Could be he was recruiting former Vols now in the transfer portal. Edge rusher Tyler Baron is a possibility. He had six sacks but was a tad awkward in celebration dances.
Kiffin could have just been retracing past steps, reminiscing, thinking what might have been, sharing the wealth.
He has a better contract than Heupel, $9 million plus some really big bonuses — $250,000 because his 10-2 team is in the Peach Bowl against Penn State and $250,000 if he remains the Ole Miss coach through December 31.
He probably will cash that in since the game is just one day earlier.
Other bonus money is available. Ole Miss has never had an 11-win season.
Former Vol quarterback Josh Dobbs has been in and out of NFL news.
Another former quarterback, Bo Hardegree, 39, is doing OK without headlines. He is offensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders at least until they secure a new head coach. Maybe Bo has a good job, maybe not.
Hardegree has been in the league since 2014. He worked in Denver, Miami, with the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
Hardegree was a Vol quarterback from 2004 to 2007 but never attempted a pass. There is another distinction. Bo may be the only NFL coach to letter in college tennis. He has no official Tennessee football stats but he did make the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Marvin West welcomes comments or questions from readers. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cutline: Jim Haslam