Vereen, Evans, Fleming aren't leaving with championships, but they've got degrees

Daryl Vereen only reflected on his career for a couple seconds.

The now former Tennessee linebacker acknowledged the obvious, that it didn't play out exactly as expected after all the adversity the program has encountered over the last few years.

But even while briefly looking back on his time with the Vols on Friday morning at Pratt Pavilion, the smile never left Vereen's face as he was surrounded by family and a couple teammates. He's not leaving UT with a championship ring, but that didn't seem to matter much compared to what Vereen will be taking with him after graduating with a degree in psychology.

"It's just a happy day for me, and we worked hard to get here," Vereen said. "It wasn't the greatest season for us, but I've got some great memories and a degree.

"I'm just excited about it. It's going to be a party tonight."

The Vols certainly didn't have much to celebrate during the year, and Vereen's role might not have been as significant as he would have hoped as a senior.

The same was true for defensive backs Art Evans and C.J. Fleming as they wrapped up their college careers with the team. But none of them appeared to be giving that much thought as they posed for pictures and accepted congratulations from a stream of well-wishers — including some from Derek Dooley, their third coach at UT.

"At the end of the day, I'm still a Vol," Evans said. "You want to win them all, and it's unfortunate it didn't go the way we wanted it to go, but I know they'll get it back on track over the years.

"But, I mean, getting a degree was one of my reasons to come to school. That's exactly what it boils down to, having your parents and everybody proud of you. That's what means the most."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward

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Comments » 19

VolunteerLifer writes:

Way to go, guys.

BigBadVol writes:

Awesome article and awesome young men! VFL!

flatrock writes:

Congratulations, student-athletes!

willblitz4bacon writes:

Congratulations guys..

BobbyJones writes:

Well done, gentlemen! You helped lay the foundation.

GerryOP writes:

As you leave UT with diplomas, I hope you have the same high expectations for your life as you had for your football team when you arrived here. With that outlook on life, may you go forth and do well.

All Vol all day every day!

tovolny writes:

Way to go gentlemen. The degree was hard to get, but you will never regret it. You are not just another ex-Vol footballer but a member of the UT Alumni, the best family on the graduated side of a college education. I am so happy and proud of you guys, and I know you will be successful in whatever direction your careers take. The degree is yours forever. It means that you, your children, and your grandchildren will head into the future armed with dignity, respect, and all that is golden for others to see.

Good luck...and please keep us informed via KNS or whomever.

seadaddy writes:

Proud of you Art CJ and Daryl..VFL!

tedstryker1980 writes:

Bravo!

PHAT_VOL writes:

YES, Bravo !!!

Vol_Stuck_in_GA writes:

Congratulations gentlemen

Down_The_Field writes:

the vol nation is proud. congrats!

we shall return!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSzcRd...

BluezVol writes:

This is what is missing from much of college athletics - achieving a degree. Lips service is given but college is essentially a stepping stone to the pros (football & basketball). That attitude and the money made available by the all powerful, all knowing ESPN is ruining much of college athletics. You can quote me stats on grad rates (blah..blah..blah...). As a college professor, I know what I'm speaking about as it pertains to many (not all) of "student-athletes".

brokendownoldvol writes:

Congratulations and good luck!! Hopefully you will have better bosses in the real world.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

This is what is missing from much of college athletics - achieving a degree. Lips service is given but college is essentially a stepping stone to the pros (football & basketball). That attitude and the money made available by the all powerful, all knowing ESPN is ruining much of college athletics. You can quote me stats on grad rates (blah..blah..blah...). As a college professor, I know what I'm speaking about as it pertains to many (not all) of "student-athletes".

Professor,
I can certainly tell that you are not a math instructor. But before denigrating college sports do some math. The vast majority of student athletes never go pro in anything other than their chosen fields. And these three gentlemen are prime examples of that. I would encourage you to be a little more open minded and factual in your statements. Here and in class.

BluezVol writes:

in response to budd#207344:

Professor,
I can certainly tell that you are not a math instructor. But before denigrating college sports do some math. The vast majority of student athletes never go pro in anything other than their chosen fields. And these three gentlemen are prime examples of that. I would encourage you to be a little more open minded and factual in your statements. Here and in class.

Budd -

I'll remember your comments the next time I try to encourage a student athlete to 1) come to class 2) prepare for an exam 3) stop texting in class 4) not consider the 4-year scholly as 4-year vacation etc. Notice not once in my post did I say "all", I said "much", "many" etc. Also I specifically mentioned football and basketball as opposed to other college athletics. Why don't you do the math and get the average grad rates for major D1 schools in both football and basketball. Assuming you can read correctly it may surprise you.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to BluezVol:

Budd -

I'll remember your comments the next time I try to encourage a student athlete to 1) come to class 2) prepare for an exam 3) stop texting in class 4) not consider the 4-year scholly as 4-year vacation etc. Notice not once in my post did I say "all", I said "much", "many" etc. Also I specifically mentioned football and basketball as opposed to other college athletics. Why don't you do the math and get the average grad rates for major D1 schools in both football and basketball. Assuming you can read correctly it may surprise you.

Professor,
I have read the grad rates and if memory serves me correctly UT graduates a higher % of student athletes than the general population even in men's BB & FB. "Much" and "many" still implies that it is a majority, which it is not. And if they do not want to come to class then why do you push them? Being Mommy on campus does nothing to prepare them for the real life that they will face sooner or later. College is not just about learning the subject matter. It is about life lessons as well. The old mantra of you learn more from failure than success is true. If they don't do the work, let their coach know once and move on. Those that are worth it will turn it around. The few that don't aren't worth the effort.

kantanuuv writes:

Congratulations, gentlemen.

And as you shop those "academic" degrees around the country, you will quickly learn what a horrible error in judgment it was to enroll at UT.

I suggest you hang it above your front door, and touch it reverently each time you leave the house to work at DollyWood.

navarrebeachvol writes:

I’m thinking your mom and dad displayed a horrible error in judgment when they decided to have you….jerk

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