KNOXVILLE — The rest of his incoming freshman class has a month head start on Tino Thomas, but the Tennessee defensive back probably is just glad he’s finally to Knoxville.
Thomas, out of Melrose High School in Memphis, became the 27th player from the class the Volunteers signed in February to begin school. He started the second semester of summer school earlier this week, a source confirmed to the Times Free Press on Friday.
Six UT players enrolled in January, and the bulk of coach Derek Dooley’s first full recruiting class arrived in June for the start of summer workouts. The Vols signed 28 players, and only safety Eddrick Loften, who signed in 2010 and failed to qualify academically last August and January, has not been admitted into school.
The Vols could bring in only 26 players from this class, so it’s likely they will have to grayshirt one player to meet that requirement. A player who grayshirts isn’t allowed to be a part of the team.
Geraldo Orta, a safety from Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga., who underwent his second shoulder surgery since the end of his senior season Friday, may be a likely candidate.
While the entire Vols signing class looks to be in the clear, already having been admitted into school and through the NCAA clearingouse, issues could still arise. Sophomore Justin Hunter missed nearly a week of practice last August when a clearinghouse problem arose long after he began attending classes and participating in team activities.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...