The numbers, as they always seem to do, appear to have worked themselves out for the Tennessee football team.
After missing the first session of summer semester, Memphis athlete Tino Thomas is enrolled for classes and working out with the team, the News Sentinel confirmed Friday. Meanwhile, safety Eddrick Loften, who has been attempting to qualify and play at UT since last August, is not in school and is all but out of chances to play for the Vols in 2011.
With that, 27 of the Vols’ 28 2011 signees are enrolled in classes and with the program. NCAA bylaws allow just 25 to be on scholarship for the upcoming season, but UT is able to have 26 because it was able to back-count one spot from the 2010 class.
Freshman defensive back Geraldo Orta, who has been enrolled since the first session of summer semester, underwent surgery Friday for his second shoulder surgery since December.
If the surgery renders Orta incapable of playing in 2011, the Vols will have two fewer additions than anticipated for their rebuilding secondary, but could now have an easier decision to make with whom to grayshirt.
Coach Derek Dooley has not announced any plans to grayshirt any members of his 2011 class, but if all 27 remain qualified and eligible when fall semester begins, one player will have to fully separate himself from the team until January.
In May, Orta told GVX247.com that he would probably redshirt the 2011 season because of a surgery he had in December.
“I hit someone on the sideline, and my arm was up at a 90-degree angle, and it popped out,” Orta told GVX247. “I stayed in the game. I played the whole season. I never really thought about coming out.
“They told me that if it happened again, just go ahead and have surgery or whatever, but they had confidence that therapy (during the season) would help it a lot.”
Loften, who is from Irving, Texas, originally signed with the Vols in 2010, but was unable to qualify. He did not enroll at a prep school or junior college, instead hoping to join the Vols in time for spring practice. Though he wasn’t able to qualify in time for spring semester, he was still included in the 28-man signing class.
In a June e-mail to the News Sentinel, Loften said he had acquired whatever test scores he was lacking and was just waiting to be OK’d by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
Thomas, a three-star prospect out of Melrose High, will be in the mix for playing time at cornerback and in the team’s nickel and dime packages. He also could be in the running for the Vols’ vacancy at punt returner.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble