When classes begin on Wednesday, Tennessee’s football team will welcome two new faces to campus.
They’ll also welcome an old one back.
Safety Demetrice Morley has been readmitted to Tennessee, one year after being dismissed from school for falling below the university’s academic standards.
“I expect him to be with us, and I expect him to do a great job showing he deserves to be here,” UT coach Phillip Fulmer said Sunday about Morley.
Morley, who remained in Knoxville and attended classes at Pellissippi State to regain admission, started 10 games at strong safety in 2006 and recorded 51 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Two incoming freshmen, tailback Tauren Poole (Toccoa, Ga.) and fullback Austin Johnson (Hickory, N.C.), will also enroll for the spring semester, which begins Wednesday.
Morley, though, could have the biggest impact.
His possible return had players buzzing following Tennessee’s 21-17 victory over Wisconsin in last week’s Outback Bowl.
Tennessee only loses one player – All-SEC free safety Jonathan Hefney – from its secondary.
The addition of Morley means that the Vols return five defensive backs with at least seven career starts: Safety Eric Berry (14) and corners Marsalous Johnson (7), corner Brent Vinson (10), DeAngelo Willingham (8).
In addition to that group, the Vols will have Antonio Gaines, who started UT’s first two games in 2007 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Whether or not the Vols will be without four players who sought evaluations from the NFL’s college advisory committee remains to be seen.
Fulmer said Sunday that those four players – All-SEC linebacker Jerod Mayo, tailback Arian Foster, All-SEC offensive lineman Anthony Parker and punter Britton Colquitt – have received their grades back from the NFL, but no decisions have been made yet.
Fulmer still plans to speak with those players and their families before a decision is made.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL draft, however they may withdraw their name within 72 hours and return to college without affecting their eligibility.
Tennessee could also receive news this week about another new face.
Former Alcoa and Florida State tight end Brandon Warren has been taking classes at Pellissippi State since returning from Tallahassee last winter to seek a transfer to Tennessee, although his status with UT is unknown.
Warren, an All-American at Alcoa and a freshman All-American with the Seminoles, must be admitted to Tennessee before he can begin practicing with the football team.
Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.