Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer announced Friday that sophomore tailback LaMarcus Coker has been reinstated to the football team.
“LaMarcus has fulfilled his obligations to this point and will rejoin the team at practice on Saturday at the recommendation of his medical advisers,” Fulmer said fol-lowing practice. “He will practice but not travel or play against Cal, but I do expect him to return against Southern Miss if he continues on a positive track.”
Tennessee opens the season Sept. 1 at Cal and plays host to Southern Miss on Sept. 8.
Fulmer suspended Coker for unspecified transgressions on Aug. 7.
Fulmer said Coker will address the team this morning before UT’s kicking scrimmage. Fulmer described Coker’s attitude in recent meetings as “exceptional”.
“That’s a good thing for LaMarcus and I think he’s on the right track right now,” Fulmer said.
Coker led the Vols with 696 rushing yards his freshman year, even though he was sidelined for two games with an injured knee and competing for playing time with junior Arian Foster and sophomore Montario Hardesty.
“He’s a proven player and that’s certainly helpful,” Fulmer said of Coker’s return.
Coker was suspended for several practices last December for undisclosed reasons. Still, in a limited role, he turned in UT’s biggest play against Penn State in the Outback Bowl, a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to tie the game.
Fulmer said he’s not sure how much Coker worked out while suspended.
“He’s worked out some,” Fulmer said. “He’s been quite busy doing other things.”
Fulmer wouldn’t declare that Coker will definitely play in the Southern Miss game just because he’s scheduled to be eligible.
“He’s still progressing with things,” Fulmer said. “He’s got things to do.”