College football tour: Tennessee's Nick Reveiz has repaired knee, same old desire

Senior linebacker Nick Reveiz speaks to the media during a press conference at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Senior linebacker Nick Reveiz speaks to the media during a press conference at the Stokely Family Media Center inside Neyland Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010.

Gayle Reveiz, center, smiles with her sons Nick, left, and Shane, both current
members of Tennessee’s football team.

Special to the News Sentinel

Gayle Reveiz, center, smiles with her sons Nick, left, and Shane, both current members of Tennessee’s football team.

1-9: Combined record last five seasons against Florida (0-5) and Alabama (1-4)

2: Games of major college experience for Tennessee's quarterbacks, and those were two years ago when Matt Sims was a backup playing for Louisville.

5: Consecutive seasons with at least one NFL first-round draft choice, the only SEC school to do so

14-13-3: Record against Pac-10 schools, though the Vols have never played Pac-10 member Oregon, who they'll face Sept. 11

Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz, groggy from anesthesia, looked at his surgically repaired right knee last October and did what anyone would do in that situation.

He felt sorry for himself.

"I wondered if I'd ever walk again," Reveiz said.

But if you know Reveiz, son of former Vols and NFL kicking great Fuad Reveiz, then you understand his pity party didn't last very long.

"My philosophy is everything that happens, whether it's good or bad, God uses that for your development, for your perseverance," Reveiz said, "He puts things in your path to see where you're at, and it's up to you to react positively."

No one is doubting Reveiz, a fifth-year senior, will bounce back from his injury. All questions about his grit were answered long ago when he joined the Vols in 2006 as a walk-on, and worked his way into the starting lineup last year as an undersized linebacker (5-10, 224) in a league of giants.

He had 27 tackles before he tore his lateral meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth game against Ohio. No one touched him -- "I was just running and it popped," Reveiz said.

And though he did allow himself that moment of self-doubt after surgery, Reveiz realized that it was just a blip compared to some of the things his family had been through the last couple of years.

In January 2008, Nick's younger brother Shane, now a Vols' junior linebacker who also plays on special teams, underwent open heart surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor.

Three months later, sister Bryanna was on her way to school at Farragut High when she ran off the road trying to adjust her car radio. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but today after 12 surgeries, she's a student at Tennessee.

Finally, Fuad, who played 11 years in the NFL, then became a successful home builder in Knoxville as well as hosting shows on the DYI Network, fell victim to a wheezing economy. Reveiz and Company, Reveiz Homes LLC and Hardin Valley Development filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in January 2009.

Fuad, now in the insurance business, said maybe he and his family developed their resiliency and toughness from Fuad's parents, who migrated from Colombia to Miami.

"My mom and dad came to this country with $400 in their pocket, three kids and four suitcases," Fuad said. "I never heard my parents complain and whine about what anybody owes them. My parents pointed out what we had instead of what we didn't have, that we are blessed for what we have."

Fuad still holds eight Tennessee records he set from 1981-84, including most field goals made in career (71), consecutive field goals made (18) and a 60-yard field goal vs. Georgia Tech that remains tied for the longest in SEC history. But a little-known fact is he was also a fiery linebacker and fullback at Miami's Sunset High.

And when Fuad was in the NFL, especially with Minnesota, he made it a point of not just living the one-dimensional life of a placekicker.

"I've always been a big fan of guys like Tony Dungy and Jack del Rio, so I'd always hang around the defensive team meetings (with the Vikings when Dungy was defensive coordinator and del Rio was a starting linebacker)," Fuad said. "I was able to pick up a lot of little neat things that Tony and Jack would do, and I just tried to pass some of those on to my sons."

This all ties into Nick, because in the eighth grade he decided he wanted to play football. But he wanted to be a linebacker and not a placekicker like his dad or his uncle Carlos, who followed his father at UT.

"I tried placekicking once," Nick said. "I took three steps back, two steps to the left ... and then shanked it. When I told my dad I wanted to play linebacker, he coached me up."

But Fuad did more than that. He instilled an insatiable work ethic.

"Preparation is more important than just about anything," Fuad said. "If you want to be good, do just what the coaches tell you. But if you want to be exceptional, get there before practice and stay after practice. You have to watch more film than anybody else. You do all the extras so that when you get to the game, you are so well prepared that you just have fun and fly to the ball."

That's why Nick, though he never got major scholarship offers despite being Class 5A All-State and a Mr. Football finalist at Farragut in 2005, didn't blink about walking on and succeeding at Tennessee.

He felt outworking everybody would get him noticed. It did, and he was on his way to a great season a year ago when he got hurt.

"I knew it would be a long road back, and I could not focus on the end result," Nick said of his rehab that he started one week after surgery. "Every single day, I had to think about something that I needed to improve. Four months ago I wasn't feeling that great, but it's interesting to see how fast you heal when you keep working hard."

As happy as Reveiz is to be back on the field -- he's the first former walk-on to be named a team captain since J.J. McCleskey in 1992 -- his teammates are ecstatic to see him running from sideline to sideline.

"We had some awesome guys replace Nick last year, but nothing can replace Nick's energy, his heart and his passion for the game," Vols' defensive end Chris Walker of Christian Brothers said.

A closer look at Tennessee

Rewind: The post-Phillip Fulmer era at UT last year marked a drastic change. Lane Kiffin took over for Fulmer, immediately insulted several SEC coaches and continually committed secondary rules violations, claiming it was part of his master recruiting plan to get the Vols more national attention. On the field, Tennessee played hard, but the talent just wasn't there in what became a 7-6 season (4-4 in the Eastern Division). Quarterback Jonathan Crompton got off to an awful start, but kept plugging away and had 20 TDs to five interceptions in the final nine games. Tennessee's defense, beset by injuries, especially along the line and at linebacker, didn't have the depth to hold it together against the league's best offenses.

Fast forward: Kiffin bolted for USC in January when Pete Carroll left for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, so Louisiana Tech's Derek Dooley was an emergency hire. The Vols did a decent job in recruiting, but spring practice showed a team full of extraordinarily average talent.

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Comments » 27

rockytopatl writes:

We haven't heard much about how Nick is playing, but my money is on him completely returning to form and being exceptional, possibly All-SEC caliber. Go Nick; Go Vols!

nola_vol writes:

Comparisons between Nick's role on this team and that of Dane Bradshaw's are inevitable. But the comparisons are fair and hold up well in depth.

If he remains healthy, Nick Reveiz' upcoming season will likely become one of your lifetime treasured, Big Orange memories. Young men like this are the true pleasure of college athletics.

TommyJack writes:

We need many more of his ilk.

tennesseebee writes:

Nick Reveiz is one of the classiest Vols of all time. Take it to 'em, Nick! Can't wait for the slobber-knockers!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's what I want to hear, WD!!

martintnvol writes:

Had to get that last jab in.

Fulton_Vol writes:

Nick is a top notch young man. He has the heart of both a lion and lamb. He has the lion's heart to work hard, and be the best he can be. Yet on the flip side he has the compassion and love to help others and love God with his whole heart. I am proud I've had the chance to meet him. Go Nick, and all the Vols!

orangecountyvols writes:

Really nice article about Nick and all the Reveiz family. Hard workers, the ones who do things the right way. For those dwelling on the 'stars' subject, here's a lesson to be learned.

And, ehawkins, good comments...........if you're right about the record this fall that would be really great too.

HtownVol writes:

The Vols did a decent job in recruiting, but spring practice showed a team full of extraordinarily average talent.

Wow. This article actually says UT is a team full of extraordinarily average talent.

I know that we had a bad class or two under PF, but with 2 straight top 10 recruiting classes I really dont see how UT is a team of average yytalent.

According to the recruiting services UT can pretty much put a 4 star player at almost every starting position. I understand that start dont mean much now, but I guess it also it depends on what the statement meant. By average does he mean average for the SEC or for football as a whole?
I can agree that our talent is pretty much average for the SEC, but in no way are we average for all D1 football teams.

Anyway... I am very happy for Nick. He was the heart of the team last year. I hope he hasnt lost much speed, he will lead our Defense this year. With EB gone Nick is no doubt the player that the D will depend on for answers, motivation and leadership.

Good luck Nick.

GO VOLS

CroKev writes:

Man, you cannot help but like this guy. I just wish he was 4 inches taller because I don't think too many NFL teams are going to look at him seriously, despite his having a great season.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to TommyJack:

We need many more of his ilk.

Truth in that,TJ..Last year a couple of games after he was hurt,I saw him on crutches going out on the field after kickoffs to pick up the tee.That told me everything I needed to know about Nick Reveiz...The young ones can learn a lot from being around him this year...IMHO.

RandRams writes:

An overachiever, Nick is a fine example of character, dedication, determination, resilience, & passion.

Lead on Nick, lead on!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

ACL injuries absolutely suck. Period.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to ehawkins32#429287:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Nebraska game was Leonard Little and company...they spent so much energy celebrating every little play in the first half that by the second they where tired. Nebraska wasn't tired.

Still, think hard: Nebraska used the PASSING game to make critical 3rd downs on their 2 long TD drives. Johnny Chavis at his best, getting beaten up on 3rd and long.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

As for the ACL injury epidemic:
my rant is that the shoe companies are spending millions on advertising and contracts, while spending virtually nothing on shoe design. The shoes themselves are made in viet nam for 10 bucks a pair.

Some people's anatomy is prone to the ACL injury. Especially true for girls. Add to that the lack of 'slip' in modern shoes, and you get the receipe for the injury:
a planted foot, a twist of the upper body, and SNAP. There is no where for all that kinetic energy to be released except the weakest available joint, the knee. The foot is planted, the ankle is frequently braced, taped, or both...

Shoes need to slip just as a bare foot would. That is my opinion only.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

The Vols did a decent job in recruiting, but spring practice showed a team full of extraordinarily average talent.

Wow. This article actually says UT is a team full of extraordinarily average talent.

I know that we had a bad class or two under PF, but with 2 straight top 10 recruiting classes I really dont see how UT is a team of average yytalent.

According to the recruiting services UT can pretty much put a 4 star player at almost every starting position. I understand that start dont mean much now, but I guess it also it depends on what the statement meant. By average does he mean average for the SEC or for football as a whole?
I can agree that our talent is pretty much average for the SEC, but in no way are we average for all D1 football teams.

Anyway... I am very happy for Nick. He was the heart of the team last year. I hope he hasnt lost much speed, he will lead our Defense this year. With EB gone Nick is no doubt the player that the D will depend on for answers, motivation and leadership.

Good luck Nick.

GO VOLS

HTown, I think we have probably lost a bunch of those recruits to grades, quitting, etc. I haven't run the numbers, but it seems like for the past 2 yrs. I have seen many players leave the program for one reason or another.

8ball writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't believe you are a vandy grad if so you couldn't be this stupid, or maybe thats why you are stupid..

volsoutwest writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Doc, back off the caffeine. You have way yonder too much energy for a hot Sunday afternoon.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

For the life of me I can't figure out why those last two paragraphs on "A closer cook at Tennessee" are at the end of this article on Nick. Feel free to enlighten me.

Vol Nation appreciates you, Nick! Can't wait to see you in action again! It won't be long now!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to pj_ladyvolnMI:

For the life of me I can't figure out why those last two paragraphs on "A closer cook at Tennessee" are at the end of this article on Nick. Feel free to enlighten me.

Vol Nation appreciates you, Nick! Can't wait to see you in action again! It won't be long now!

The story is a pickup from the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. UT doesn't get covered that extensively by the CA, thus that little background box at the end of the story.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

JJMcClesky. Wore number 6 and was like 5'6".

Nick Reveiz is such a great kid to have on our team. I hope he has a great season and stays injury-free.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

I said last year at one point that I thought NR was the 2nd best player on defense..The best of course being EB...Now that he has an NFL career, I think that NR will be our best player and our leader on defense plus he will call the plays on the field for the D because that is the MLB's job..And I think JJ is probably our 2nd best player and gonna be possibly the hardest hitter on the team.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's just logic, man. Did you know if you went barefoot most of the time, your feet would have virtually leather-like soles??

Not all ACL's seem to be from torsion, but quite a few are. Others seem to be from 'shear', apparently through a plane in-line with the leg. Very little can be done for those, I think, except maybe a stiff-mesh type hose?? bet that would be popular....

It really comes down to this; energy has to be released in some way; either a muscle absorbs it, a tendon tears, or an ankle sprains. Rarely, a hip gives way, or a bone.

I wish I was smart enough to be a bio-med engineer, I'd be working hard on ACL tear prevention.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

smart enough to be dangerous; to do it right:
-you need the mechanical props of tendons, muscles, bones, and the fluid props surrounding them
-you need a machine that can model the structure, and apply the various forces; you'll also need to be able to vary lever lengths (bone lengths), attach points, all that
-you'll need a billion transducers
-finally, you will want to gen enough 'real' data to then create a computer model

a lot of this has most likely been done before, but I don't as their is a publicly-available, simpel-to-use model; there are things like this:
http://www.mendeley.com/research/a-fi...

Depends on whether you want to 'design from scratch', or build empirically.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

....or this...
http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/may0...

then, we gotta get to work on 'growing' replacement ligaments IN ADVANCE; an athlete will donate the appropriate DNA, then have pre-built (and frozen) various ligaments such as elbow, knee, achilles...this will dramatically speed up recovery times, and will end the allograft process issues.

Sorry, know this is boring to most readers.

DannyVol writes:

As far as the last paragraph: Higgins is a jerk writer for the Commercial Appeal who has had a real beef with our Vols for years...no wonder our own beloved Adams often publishes Higgins' stories. Two peas in a pod.

By the way, I was going to call Higgins the other perfectly acceptable word for a donkey and I get this WATCH YOUR MOUTH! THE WORD "J____" IS NOT ALLOWED HERE. This site is beyond ridiculous. It's okay for them to publish negative story after negative story about the team they cover and the team their readership loves, but you can't even use words that third-grade boys use on the playground? How freaking nerdy is that? Just shows you who is running this third-rate "phooey."

Southland writes:

in response to DannyVol:

As far as the last paragraph: Higgins is a jerk writer for the Commercial Appeal who has had a real beef with our Vols for years...no wonder our own beloved Adams often publishes Higgins' stories. Two peas in a pod.

By the way, I was going to call Higgins the other perfectly acceptable word for a donkey and I get this WATCH YOUR MOUTH! THE WORD "J____" IS NOT ALLOWED HERE. This site is beyond ridiculous. It's okay for them to publish negative story after negative story about the team they cover and the team their readership loves, but you can't even use words that third-grade boys use on the playground? How freaking nerdy is that? Just shows you who is running this third-rate "phooey."

Maybe as an adult you would no longer need to use third graders language. Profanity is the attempt of a feeble mind or a person with a weak mind trying to express itself. John Ward never cursed and he could say everything he needed to say and with class

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