Birth of son spurred Morley to return to UT

Defensive back was living in car after being sacked for academics

Don't expect Demetrice Morley to get overly upset if he gives up a touchdown pass or misses a wide-open tackle this fall. The defensive back has some perspective this time around that he didn't have during his first stint at Tennessee.

Perspective came like a blitzing linebacker when Morley was living in his Chevrolet Caprice on the streets of Miami, shortly after being dismissed from UT for academic shortcomings in January 2007.

"I overcame that and just did what I had to do," Morley said during a meeting with the media on Friday following his reinstatement. "I'm just glad to be in orange again."

The journey out of that car and back to Knoxville wasn't easy.

Void of a scholarship or any help from UT, Morley got a job at Calhoun's on the River to pay for classes at Pellissippi State Technical Community College in order to improve his academic standing.

"Just don't take anything for granted," Morley said when asked what he learned from the ordeal. "That's like a life lesson. Something I can tell my kids and grandkids. Let them know that academics are important."

Morley declined to say exactly how he got into academic trouble at UT. But he's quick to point out one of the things that got him back.

The motivation came seven months ago with the birth of his son, Deion.

"That's a big part of my whole life right there," Morley said of his son, who lives in Knoxville. "He's like my shadow. That's my little man. I love him to death. That's my motivation and inspiration right there. He's everything to me.

"I can't let him down so I have to work hard and give it all I have."

UT's coaches should be plenty excited with Morley's return.

Before his dismissal, the star prospect from Killian High School had locked down the starting strong safety position, registering 51 tackles, seven for a loss and two interceptions in 2006. Now with senior Jonathan Hefney's departure, there's a gaping vacancy at safety just waiting to be filled.

Morley's return to UT started to circulate when he showed up for a preseason scrimmage in August. While many were hopeful, even more seemed doubtful that Morley would be able to get his academics in order. Morley, however, had no doubts.

"There wasn't a choice," he said. "I was going to be here and I was going to stay here. I just had to go out and work hard, find a job and go to school and pay for it on my own and do what I had to do."

Morley's return may signal a renaissance for the highly touted 2005 signing class that, so far, hasn't lived up to expectations.

Morley was one of three South Florida prospects that highlighted the class, along with Vladimir Richard and Gerald Williams.

After taking some time to readjust to a new position, Richard worked his way into the offensive line rotation last fall as coaches raved about his potential.

Williams was enrolled and on campus at UT in the summer of 2005 but was told ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of a correspondence class he took in high school. Williams then took a year off from football, attended prep school and is now enrolled at City College of San Francisco.

Williams is expected to make his long awaited return to UT this summer.

"We're one big family," Morley said, "brothers from another mother."

Morley said the toughest times in his latest travails came when he was hunkered down, doing homework as he watched UT's games on television during the fall.

But even that didn't get Morley down. Instead, he said watching his former teammates play motivated him to work even harder.

"There were no low times for me," he said. "I hardly ever have a low time. I'm always happy.

"I thank God for Coach (Phillip) Fulmer for giving me a second chance to show him that I can really work hard.

"It makes me real hungry."

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Comments » 80

nicavol writes:

I wish you the best DMO. There is more to life than football but football can be the enjoyable part. Go for it all now, get the degree because it can't be taken away from you and strive to get paid to do the "enjoyable" part of life and be a good dad.

bobbyutvol writes:

welcome back you get few second chances in life make the best of it.... good luck & go vols

utmdm writes:

Young man, Lifes lessons can be hard, but it seems you have learned and responded positively. Good luck. Hope you succeed all around.

rabidvol1998 writes:

Sometimes second chances work, sometimes they make the giver look bad. I'm glad coach Fulmer makes each decision on the merits and is willing to fail sometimes for the sake of succeeding in others. His commitment is to treat the players like he would his kids. We can agree or disagree with each individual decision, but we should always honor the the intent.

Congrats Demetrice, take advantage and stay focused.

Pullingguard writes:

Lessons of hard knocks and hard times encourages the effort that might have been missing. Probably Morley will be a better person for the experience and also be a more dedicated and better football player... This person does have the talent to play at the next level... But it's all up to him... Good Luck.

newtonrail writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TommyJack writes:

newton: That was beyond harsh.

givehim6 writes:

Don't let people like newtonrail turn you cold. Sounds to me like someone needs a time out, and a little one on one with the lord. Anyway, being a parent helps people grow up. Stay focused, be a good dad, man, & player

calivol writes:

No actually, newton, I DON'T know that you're "telling the truth." In this case, the little kid lives in Knoxville and it sounds like Morley is working in the classroom, on the field and at Calhoun's to do what's best for him and his son. Are you so cynical that when a young man says "I love him to death. That's my motivation and inspiration right there. He's everything to me."...that you don't believe him? Are you serious? And stick to football? Are you saying we can't know Morley's 40-time AND know that he overcame living in his car and is trying to make something of his life? Newton, you're more than're a moron. You said you don't want any more stories on "bastard children" on this site. Know what I say? I say I don't want any more comments from bastards who act like children on this site. And I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way, either.

bloodrunsorange writes:

Even with all the extreme highs and lows with UT Football I’m still glad Coach Fulmer is the top dog. The surprises aren’t over for this season, from what I hear. Kids nowadays have to be treated individually and personal. If you think college has gotten tough believe me you don’t want to know about high school. The real world is just because you say it’s so doesn’t make it that way. It’s real hard when you’re told to go swimming all you want just don’t get into the water. Then for some reason they think you're doing alot of swimming. It’s much harder now than it was a few years back to keep most kids on track. Sometimes you’re lucky and they realize before it’s too late you’re trying to the best you can for them. I sincerely hope Morley has learned this. I believe Coach Fulmer, is trying to function in this world of kids not the one most people think it is.

KnoxVol_in_TX writes:

second that.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

A man can live a spotless life and in one moment of weakness, a child can enter the picture unexpectedly. I bet most of us could have been in Demetrice's position with the dice we threw in our youth.

A real man sucks it up and takes responsibility. He does what it takes to take care of his business. He gets a job, he goes to school, he secures a future for his child. He takes ownership of his life and learns from his mistakes. He not only talks about change, but does it.

Newtonrail apparently has not experienced brokenness in his life and can still view others from an egotistical prince position. It is sad, but I may not have been far from him had I not fallen on my face so many times.

Newton, I hope you begin to care about the individuals who wear the orange and white more than the results they produce on Saturdays.

dfreeman writes:

Morley, I just spent the whole night in the ER with my 13 month old little boy. They are everything!! Congrats on your little one and take care of him!!

utmdm writes:

Newton, while we all wish we had less stories about children out of wedlock (meaning we wish there were not so many sad situations as that), your comments are just wrong. It is a fact of life with our society right now. We should do everything we can to encourage the postitive out of these negative situations rather than hiding them and getting a negative on top of a negative.

ctownvol writes:

dfreeman- Hope all is ok with your lil' man. I applaud DMorley. Sounds like he has the character I want not only for players at the university I love so much, but would appreciate in a family member or friend. What jersey number will he be wearing this year, and where do I get one?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Congrats, Morely. I wish my dogs wouldn't bark at 3:15 a.m. and Ma wished I could make them hush. But if wishes were horses we'd all ride.

Only crawdads (crawfish to the Vandy grads) look back to see where they've been. Hang in there Morely. Look forward to seeing you this fall. Be responsible for your son in all phases of life. Reporters will be looking up this youngster soon.

I also wish it wasn't colder than a well digger's a## in Utah.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

I like the facts that
-Morey took this up on his own and got it done
-CPF and UT took him back in. granted, you can be cynical about it, but if you analyze Phil thru the years, you'll see he is a kid's coach, not just doing it for himself.

For all the phooey we give Phil, he does a great job of prepping kids for the pros, and in trying to help kids grow to be men. I think Bruve is like that, and even Nick Saban (Nick has ZERO ability with the media...but his playrs love him).

drwfocus writes:

What calivol said --

txsvol#372416 writes:

Save Deion a scholarship for the recruiting class of 2026! He's really precocious if he's doing more than following his Dad with his eyes! Glad to have Morley pere back to play safety--he and Eric will be the two best in the nation! Go Vols! SAVol

dfreeman writes:

ctown and Kingsport - Thank you!! He has pneumonia and we took him to the er last night with a temp of 105! Scared us to death! We have to see if he can keep down fluids and go back at 3pm today!! If he keeps throwing up, they'll probably admit him. I don't think they prepare you for this kind of stuff! This must be why parents get their gray hair so fast!! Keep us in your thoughts!!

rootin4volz writes:

G-Gun and Ahman ought to sit down and let Morley fill them in on all the details of his past year. Way to go D-Mo! You're a shining example for your teammates, and I hope you prove to be an inspiration for all of them, just as your little man is an inspiration to you. You might just be the glue that the '08 Vols need to make a run for a championship! Go Vols!

rootin4volz writes:

Oops...Typo...I meant Ahmad.

invisiblekid writes:

I can agree with newtonrail on the issue of the sports media seemingly trying to turn almost every story into a human interest feel-good piece. If I want to see that type of story, I am not going to go to GoVols or Outside the Lines looking for it. What I totally disagree with is the callous manner in which he stated his position though.

You can't get away from the human side of things completely however. At the end of the game, it's still young men under the helmet with lives outside of football. Morley has obviously made some mistakes and appears to be making the effort to make right on those mistakes. And I hope he succeeds in those efforts. I think many of us would be content to leave it at that and not pass judgement or turn this site into a referendum on the social ills in America.

invisiblekid writes:

Dfreeman, good luck with the little man. Hopefully, he is staying hydrated and won't have to spend any time in the hospital.

BigO4Vols writes:

freeman-been there done that. kid had roto last yr.
calivol-got your back!!!
can you guys imagine morley AND berry at both the safeties!!! WOW!!! anybody heard anything on the status of brandon warren???

gohawks1 writes:

Just what I was thinking, rootin4volz. Morley has a rare opportunity to have a positive influence on these younger players who made a serious blunder last week. I hope Demetrice has a "heart to heart" with those guys. It could be good for the whole team. Congrats, Demetrice. I'm glad to have you back wearing orange. Let this experience make you a better and stronger person (it seems as though it already has).

dfreeman, I hope all goes well with your son. I know that must be frightening to you and your family.

On a side note, these returning players will add talent to the team but will not be reflected in the recruiting group. Keep that in mind as we analyze the upcoming recruiting class.

ctownvol writes:

dfreeman- Keep us informed.

johnlg00 writes:

As much potential as Morley has on the football field, his new-found maturity, self-discipline, and determination may be his greatest gifts to next year's team. I wonder how many of us could have done what he has done under his circumstances. Best of luck to you, young man! Thanks for being a Vol--again, and forever!

TommyJack writes:

dfreeman: Good luck with the lad.

BallantyneVol writes:

Demetrice, way to go when kicked off the team last year I thought you were finished as a Vol. Your hard work and dedication should be an inspiration to the team..

pmidude56#259103 writes:

DMO...look forward to seeing you back in Orange this Fall. Best of luck with your college career AND your new son.

AllanO444 writes:

What year will he be next year? A junior?

gohawks1 writes:

Not sure about this AllanO, but I think he was a freshman last year, meaning he would be returning as a sophomore. Maybe someone who knows more can enlighten us on his returning status.

gohawks1 writes:

Correction - Morley was a sophomore in 2006, so he should be a junior next year.

dfreeman writes:

Thanks everyone!! I will ctownvol!!

Alphafemale writes:

Best of luck to you DM!!!!! Sometimes God works on us to build character and to motivate us. So many of your peers would have just given up...

tenndave writes:

Young man became a man. Offenses should fear a man with a misson. He now plays for his son and a better life. Don't mess with his part of the field. He was good before but look out now.
Go Vols.

johnsoncityvol45 writes:

Here is wishing you the best DM! I hope you have learned a great lesson. Use that lesson and your son as fuel for the rest of your life. There is more to life than football. Thats a lesson that some of the people who post comments on this site need to learn! Good luck

cjraney writes:

Congrats on fatherhood and working your way back to UT. Keep your responsibilities as a Dad #1 and everything else will fall into place.

DennisVols writes:

So many times we only hear of the bad about athletes, last weekend for example. It is good to see this young man has made the most of a 2nd chance and appears to have gotten his life in order.
2nd opportunties are few and far between for most of us.
Congrat.s to DM on everything. Looking forward to seeing him wearing the Orange this spring and fall.

newtonrail writes:

Plasticman, I can post your name too but choose not too. I wish all of these were public posts. I wasn't surprised post got deleted because of one word which has been in dictionaries forever. For those who read the original post it said basically" best wishes to Mr Morley on and off the field." It said nothing directly about his son. I " attacked Dave Hooker's style of writing about recruits, where he moves the child story front and center." Have to be careful what I say or Dave or Phil will hit delete again. My comments, and I stand by them, that recruiting articles should stick to football, and not over blow that one area Hooker has a tendency to dwell on. It was NOT MORLEY's morals. There are other forums if people want to do that. I had a very, very, close relative who had a child out of wedlock, so if that had been my purpose it WOULD have been somewhat disingenuous.

Phowell23 writes:

Welcome back Morley. I proud you are a VOL and can't wait to see you on the field again. It's not about what you have done in the past but what you do going forward. He made a mistake and paid the price for it but he fought through the rough time and got himself back into school. Whether you dislike him or not you cannot spin it any other way. Go VOLS!

TommyJack writes:

newtonrail: You're trying to put another spin on your first post. In was obvious what the intent was. Don't try to weasel out now and say the point was about articles sticking to football.
You even admitted you would probably get busted.
You're spinning like a top, bro.

txsvol#372416 writes:

Thought of Demetrice and Deion when I opened this attachment. I hope that it transmits:
BabiesandFathers.wmv from
Enjoy! Go, Future Vols! SAVol

txsvol#372416 writes:

Didn't, so that it's 'clickable' and showable.' SAVol

pdhuff#552644 writes:

dfreeman - Went thru similiar deal with son only about 35 yrs ago. Dr put him on a IV for 3 hrs and brought him on home. You brought back memories. He's now, 6'1", 225 church deacon, ME with engr firm in Nashville. It'll work out.

Morely's story could be movie stuff if he'll stay on the tracks. Attack the message not the messenger. No more "blunt" surprises, to be blunt. Please.

abrown#232236 writes:

Blah, blah, blah. Anyone can talk about redemption. The challenge is to be a mature person at heart, but still be ferocious like a wreckless young bull. We'll see what Morley does, but the verdict is not in yet. So quit talking until you've done something.

abrown#232236 writes:

I actually just read my own comments, and they are not exactly accurate or what I intend to put forward. I said Demetrice "hadn't done anything yet." That is not true, He has done penance to those that he let down. He has gotten back into school and on his ball team. He has taken on the huge responsibility of a child. So he has done quite a bit. What I really meant was, don't consider that an end game. You're redemption is new and short in duration. Let's see you keep being this sort of man, and keep the lessons you've learned for the long haul. Many soundbite resurrections were born out of a momentary burst of inspiration, but Demetrice -- raising a child, keeping it between the ditches and keeping that strong spirit -- these things are a marathon. This is somewhat about feelings, but it will also be about choices and self discipline. Good luck.

utmdm writes:


Any update? It is rough to see young ones have to get the IV. Went thru that 4 or 5 times with my 2. Hope he is better.

BallantyneVol writes:

Hey losers how about we just stick to football... nobody cares about your hypocritical views on morals. Hopefully we all have a love for ut football so let's just focus on that.

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