TB Cedric Houston

2003 Statistics

Coach: Phillip Fulmer
113-28, 12 years
2003 Record:10-3
at Florida WON 24-10
at Auburn LOST 21-28
at Alabama WON 51-43
at Miami FL WON 10-6
at Kentucky WON 20-7
Clemson LOST 14-27

2003 Final Rankings
AP-15, Coaches-16, BCS-8

2004 Outlook

It is difficult to see any area where Tennessee has significantly improved heading into the new season, and there are several dimensions where they have taken a step back. Losing Clausen was inevitable, but the wide receivers are far below the Volunteers' usual standards. The offensive line is not particularly strong, and it has yet to be seen if Houston or Davis can step up and carry a big load all season in the running game. The defensive line has holes, and both safety positions are question marks. There are a few good players on the defensive side of the ball, particularly Simon and Burnett at linebacker and Haralson on the line, but not enough to make it a dominating unit, especially in the country's best conference top-to-bottom. If Tennessee doesn't get good quarterback play, they will need an outstanding defense to keep them in games, and that is unlikely to happen.

This season will be critical for Coach Fulmer and the direction of the Tennessee football program. Georgia and LSU have recently surpassed the Vols in the SEC hierarchy. Two years ago, Tennessee fell apart largely due to an incredible rash of injuries. They bounced back last year, but still only reached second-tier status in the conference. If the Volunteers do not at least close the gap on the front-runners in 2004, the fans will move from restless to wondering if their beloved football team needs new leadership. As Tennessee slips more toward the middle of the pack in the SEC, life will become quite uncomfortable for Phil Fulmer.

Look for the Vols schedule to be the killer it seems. There is little you can do with both a strong Florida team and a strong Auburn team coming in early and looking to dance in the orange-and-white checkerboards. Early losses have to be character builders, and Fulmer is just the individual to lead troops to such manly ends. The second half of the campaign eases up a bit, so the light at the tunnel's end will be there. There will be better times in Knoxville soon, just not immediately.

Projected 2004 record: 7-4
QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 4 LB - 4.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 3 ..

Passing: None

Rushing: Cedric Houston, 149 att., 744 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: James Banks, 42 rec., 621 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: James Wilhoit, 17-24 FG, 41-41 PAT, 92 pts.

Punting: Dustin Colquitt, 68 punts, 45.3 avg.

Kicking: James Wilhoit, 17-24 FG, 41-41 PAT, 51 long

Tackles: Kevin Simon, 89 tot., 67 solo, 8 TFL

Sacks: Parys Haralson, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Three with 2 interceptions

Kickoff Returns: Corey Larkins, 19 ret., 20.4 avg.

Punt Returns: James Banks, 6 ret., 6.3 avg.


P Dustin Colquitt
OFFENSE: Anthony Herrera-OG, Scott Wells-C, Chavis Smith-OG, Sean Young-OT, Mark Jones-WR, Casey Clausen-QB, Troy Fleming-FB
DEFENSE: Constantin Ritzmann-DE, Robert Peace-MLB, Jabari Greer-CB, Rashad Baker-FS, Gibril Wilson-SS, Mondre Dickerson-DT, J.T. Mapu-DT

Few players start their football careers at Wake Forest and wind up as a starter for a school like Tennessee, but that is the path of C. J. Leak to be the '04 starting quarterback. Surprisingly, Leak begins his sixth season of college football (he sat out as a transfer and received a medical hardship year) without much actual game experience. He is more of a physical specimen than his predecessor, Casey Clausen. Leak is big, strong, agile, and possesses all the tools to be successful. If he falters, James Banks, who spent last year at wide receiver, will challenge for the job. Banks is an outstanding all-around athlete but, like Leak, has limited experience under center. Tennessee won't be able to ask for much from the quarterback position early on. They do have a couple of great names here, though. Claussen's younger brother Rick has transferred in from LSU, and they also have Jim Bob Cooter. With a name like that, Cooter is halfway toward becoming a legend in the South.

Running Back
Cedric Houston will lead the Vols running game. He has averaged over five yards per carry in each of his three seasons, but has often been nicked up and never developed into a workhorse. Jabari Davis will again be counted on to convert short-yardage situations and be a change of pace from Houston. Davis complements Houston's speed and quickness with more straight-ahead running strength. Gerald Riggs, Jr., who showed flashes of brilliance in 2003, will see spot duty. Tennessee's running game was a big disappointment last season, and coach Phil Fulmer will likely rotate all three backs and see if one of them can develop a hot hand.

Wide Receiver
None of the Volunteer wideouts have established big-play credentials. Starters Tony Brown and Jayson Swain have decent speed and good hands, but have proven to be mainly possession receivers. Chris Hanson, a former high school quarterback, could prove to be the downfield threat Tennessee needs. He scored seven touchdowns on only 21 receptions in 2003 and could develop into an important weapon. The Vols need to stretch the field and give their running backs more room to work. With a new QB, this ability for the WRs to consistently spread the field will surely reflect the Vols' entire team destiny.

Tight End
Tennessee doesn't throw much to their tight ends, but they do have some outstanding blockers. Victor McClure, listed at 6'4" 290 lbs., moved over from guard but essentially plays as a sixth offensive lineman. Backup Jake Finalayson gives the Vols a massive front wall in two tight end sets.

Offensive Line
The youngest group on the Tennessee roster will be anchored by tackle Michael Munoz, son of NFL Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz. A second-team All-SEC performer last year, Munoz has yet to live up to his recruiting hype or his breeding. The Vols desperately need him to take that step with so much inexperience surrounding him. Cody Douglas will start at guard, but is Tennessee's most versatile lineman and can fill in anywhere, as can starting center Jason Respert. Both are big and strong, but they are part of a line that will take a while to jell, if it does at all.

The Volunteers' offense was just ranked a very disappointing 73rd, and it may be worse this season. Coach Fullmer has to figure out how to get consistent, grinding, time-eating possession-type productivity from an inexperienced quarterback and line without having a workhorse running back or a game-breaking receiver. There is plenty of unrealized potential at every position on the offense, but it will have to come together as a greater sum than its misaligned parts quickly, or else risk making life very difficult for the Tennessee defense.


OT Michael Munoz


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB C.J. Leak-Sr (6-4, 220) Rick Clausen-Jr (6-3, 210)
FB Cory Anderson-So (6-3, 270) Robert Williams-Jr (6-3, 245)
TB Cedric Houston-Sr (6-0, 220) David Yancey-So (5-8, 185)
Jabari Davis-Sr (6-0, 230)
WR Tony Brown-Sr (6-2, 200) Chris Hannon-Jr (6-4, 195)
Robert Meachem-Fr (6-3, 210)
WR Jayson Swain-So (6-1, 210) James Banks-Jr (6-3, 205)
Derrick Tinsley-Sr (6-0, 195)
TE Victor McClure-Sr (6-4, 310 Justin Reed-Jr (6-7, 275)
Jake Finlayson-Jr (6-5, 265)
OT Michael Munoz-Sr (6-6, 315) Steven Jones-Fr (6-4, 310)
OG Rob Smith-So (6-4, 308) Arron Sears-So (6-4, 315)
C Jason Respert-Sr (6-3, 305) Richie Gandy-Jr (6-5, 315)
OG Cody Douglas-Jr (6-4, 325) David Ligon-So (6-5, 285)
OT Albert Toeaina-Jr (6-6, 350) Eric Young-Fr (6-4, 300_
K James Wilhoit-So (5-10, 190) Ryan Fusco-Jr (5-10, 195)
Michael Munoz....MOON-yoze
Albert Toeaina....toe-EE-na
Jake Finlayson...FIN-lee-sun
David Ligon....LIG-un
Ryan Fusco....FUSS-co



Defensive Line
Tennessee's line features Parys Haralson, an explosive playmaker who led the team with 12.5 tackles for loss. Haralson is small for this position in the SEC, but his tremendous quickness enables him to get around larger offensive lineman, and his speed allows him to cover a lot of ground. Haralson is the only full time returning starter, but he should get some help from incoming recruit Jesse Mahelona. Rated by Rivals.com and TheInsiders.com as the top junior college defensive tackle in the nation in 2003, Mahelona is known for showing up in opponents' backfields. If he is fully recovered from a broken ankle, he will contribute immediately.

Kevin Simon will again be a key to the Vols' defense. He shared the team lead in tackles despite a physique more suited to a safety. Simon's freakish quickness and tremendous football instincts always put him around the ball, and he is strong enough to finish plays. Teammate Kevin Burnett also forces many negative yardage plays and is a team leader. Burnett came back from reconstructive knee surgery in '02, while Simon recovered from a broken ankle the same year. Both will need to stay on the field for Tennessee's defense to succeed in 2004.

Defensive Back
Jason Allen is being counted on to anchor a stingy pass defense for the Vols. Allen is a big hitter for a cornerback and likewise is a particularly good tackler in the open field, something he may have to do often to save the day. Luckily, he makes his biggest plays in clutch situations. As the only returning starter, Allen's leadership will be critical to keep the secondary together. Antwan Stewart came on strong at the other corner toward the end of last season, excelling in pass coverage when opponents threw away from Allen. Both safety positions are manned by youngsters. Corey Campbell is the best of the bunch, possessing outstanding speed for a safety, and he, too, is a solid tackler.

The Volunteer defense is one that concentrates on preventing big plays by opposing offenses but doesn't make very many themselves. In other words, they keep the play in front of them. With three new starters up front, Tennessee will have difficulty controlling the line of scrimmage, which could hinder their strong linebacker corps. The Vols have two good cover men at the corners, but their safeties will be vulnerable. Tennessee will be more susceptible to giving up big plays, and they will need to focus on forcing more turnovers to make up for it.


LB Kevin Simon


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Parys Haralson-Jr (6-2, 255) Turk McBride-So (6-4, 260)
DT Jesse Mahelona-Jr (6-2, 300) Greg Jones-Jr (6-6, 300)
DT Justin Harrell-So (6-4, 300) Tony McDaniel-So (6-7, 300)
LaRon Harris-So (6-3, 300)
DE Karlton Neal-Sr (6-4, 260) Jason Hall-Jr (6-3, 265)
SLB Jason Mitchell-Jr (6-1, 225) Omar Gaither-Jr (6-2, 225)
MLB Kevin Simon-Jr (5-11, 225) Jon Poe-Jr (5-11, 235)
WLB Kevin Burnett-Sr (6-3, 235) Daniel Brooks-So (6-4, 235)
CB Jonathan Wade-So (6-0, 185) Antwan Stewart-So (6-0, 185)
Antonio Gaines-Fr (5-9, 180)
CB Jason Allen-Jr (6-2, 200) Roshaun Fellows-Fr (6-0, 185)
SS Brandon Johnson-Jr (6-1, 200) Jarod Parrish-So (6-3, 195)
FS Corey Campbell-So (6-3, 190) Ben Greene-Fr (6-0, 205)
P Dustin Colquitt-Sr (6-2, 196) John Henderson-Sr (6-0, 220)
Parys Haralson....(PAIR-is)
Jess Mahelona....mah-ha-LONE-a
Dustin Colquitt....COLE-kwit
Jarod Parrish....ja-ROD




James Wilhoit has a strong leg, evidenced by the fact that less than half of his kickoffs are returned. He needs to show more consistency on his field goal attempts, however. He missed three kicks shorter than 35 yards in '03, which further sabotaged a struggling offense.

Dustin Colquitt received All-American honors in 2003 and was fourth in the nation with a 45.9-yard average. He is ahead of his father Craig and trails cousin Jimmy on Tennessee's career punting list. Colquitt's younger brother Britton is a freshman and ready to take over the family business himself.

Return Game
Corey Larkins will again return kickoffs and has the speed to improve his mediocre numbers from 2003. The punt returner job is wide open. The Vols have a recent history of success running back punts and several speedy athletes ready to take a crack at it.


The muddled QB situation didn't get any clearer after spring drills, but if we had to pick one today it would be Leak... Coach Fulmer believes FB Corey Anderson is something special. He's certainly something LARGE to line up in the backfield (6'3", 270 lbs). Who Anderson will be blocking for is still to be decided. Fulmer says there yet has been no clear-cut guy to show ownership at the tailback position. They may be one of the deepest groups in the country, but coaches are looking for a top back to emerge as the prize horse. Soph TB David Yancey, a walk-on, finished the spring impressively and will see quality minutes this fall... James Banks is reportedly still on the team, despite being suspended for the spring. No word yet as to when he will join the team for practice, though. Aside from that distraction, this is a special group of WRs, perhaps one of the SEC's most talented. But if they don't find a reliable QB to consistently get them the ball, it's not going to matter how talented they are, eh... OG Rob Smith has raised his game to really gel with this offensive line.

The Vols ill have to continue to watch their DL develop, as the play of this squad has not (yet) inspired confidence. DE Turk McBride has shown progress and will give the Vols a good back-up at his position... Antwan Stewart went down with a torn ligament in his left knee. His loss leaves the secondary in real question. Jason Allen is the only established player in that group, so the next camp(s) will need to produce bigger strides if this pass defense will be effective to start the year. Despite this sluggish play, Fulmer did sing the praise of SS Jarrod Parish fairly often... Kevin Burnett and Michael Munoz have been named team captains for 2004.

CB Roshaun Fellows (fr)
WR Robert Meachem (fr)
LB Robert Ayers (fr)
DE/OLB Antonio Reynolds (fr)