With Tennessee's first day of preseason football practice Saturday, the wait is on.
And not just for the pads to start popping. The Vols are also waiting on a pair of players to report and another pair to be deemed eligible.
UT is optimistic former Florida State tight end Brandon Warren will soon win his appeals to the NCAA and SEC after sitting out last season while taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College. The former Alcoa High School star can practice with UT this weekend but is not eligible to compete in games.
The Vols are also waiting on linebacker/defensive end Gerald Williams to complete the last of many hurdles he's been forced to overcome since signing with UT in 2005 out of Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
Williams only needs to pass one summer class at UT to be eligible. Since signing with UT, Williams has sat out a year, attended prep school and completed a year at junior college in San Francisco before enrolling at UT in time for the second session of summer school.
Of 18 prospects signed in February, all could still be deemed academically eligible.
Despite questions that have circulated about Marlon Walls, the linebacker from Olive Branch, Miss., is thought to be within reach of achieving academic eligibility.
It is unclear if defensive lineman Montori Hughes of Siegel High in Murfreesboro will be ready to enroll at UT. Hughes would have to enroll at a prep school or junior college if he's not eligible.
Prospects have until the end of August - the last day to add classes at UT - to be deemed eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Receiver/defensive end Steven Fowlkes from Banneker High in College Park, Ga., and offensive lineman Dallas Thomas from Scotlandville High in Baton Rouge, La., are scheduled to report Friday. Neither is expected to have academic concerns.
Injury Report: Junior tight end Jeff Cottam has been slower to recover from the broken leg he suffered in spring practice than UT doctors had first hoped. Cottam has struggled to participate in summer drills and is expected to be limited in fall camp.
While UT would like for Cottam to be healthy in time for the Sept. 1 season opener against UCLA. The SEC opener against Florida on Sept. 20 might prove to be a more realistic goal.