Daniel McCullers returning for senior season with Vols

Tennessee defensive lineman Daniel McCullers (98) looks on after helping stop South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore (21) at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee defensive lineman Daniel McCullers (98) looks on after helping stop South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore (21) at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee junior nose guard Daniel McCullers announced via social media on Tuesday night that he would return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-8, 360-pound lineman arrived at Tennessee from junior college last summer and earned a starting job in the middle of the Vols’ 3-4 defensive line.

“I came to UT to give my all and help put Tennessee back on the map,” McCullers posted on his Facebook page. “The last year was not the best one but we have all the talent in the world to be GREAT. So with that being said I will be coming back for my senior year. Volnation be patient we gonna be ready.”

McCullers’ decision leaves only fellow junior defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore as a question mark, although it would be a mild surprise if he decided to leave.

Tennessee is transitioning back to a 4-3 defense under new coach Butch Jones and defensive coordinator John Jancek, meaning the linemen could have different roles.

"When you have a guy that big, he's got to help you do something," Jancek said of McCullers. "It's about getting production. This is a results-oriented business."

Quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter are all expected to be leaving school a year earlier to go pro, although only Hunter has publicly announced or confirmed his intentions. Even Hunter's "announcement" came in the form of a one-word tweet.

Other roster questions could be cleared up in the coming days, particularly the status of Deion Bonner and Omari Phillips, who were suspended for all or part of their freshman seasons by Derek Dooley.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 48

Rumblefish writes:

Yay.

manning_berry_special_player1614 writes:

this is some good news im thinking he will be just fine on the line n the 43 that we are better suited for anyhow...smith i love him........as a de struggled at jack lb but learned a lot from playing there..go vols

LovinMyVols writes:

McCullers and Sentimore in the middle of the line should be fun to watch. Here is looking forward to their continued development!

Thanks Daniel for being a true Vol!

dvhill100 writes:

Thanks for coming back. Get in shape and destroy the other team's offense.

laraccoon writes:

great news ,dude will make alot of money playing on Sundays eventually . i wonder how much of his decision was the result of former players being allowed more involvement in the program .

Mr_Bandman writes:

If our defense could have allowed one fewer TD per game, we would have finished 8-4. 10 points fewer & we're 9-3, and who is to say we wouldn't have put up a fight against Vandy if we were coming into that game at 8-2? Anyway, good news...bring in some strong recruits on defense & WR and lets get moving!

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

Good....tks

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to mtnsvol44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Unselfish"? You wouldn't consider a job change if a new company offered you $10 million to start work next month?

tnvolfan98 writes:

AWESOME NEWS! I think another year will benefit the VOLS defense overall and it will benefit Daniel. He's a beast! GO VOLS!

1pavolfan writes:

great news !!! now bring Patterson back with you !!!

VolsUpsetYetAnother writes:

Now THAT'S a VOL!!!

rbwtn writes:

By the Mere fact that the others haven't announced yet means obviously they are waiting on something and haven't received it. I hope they realize "yeah there's money" but it means stepping into the Big Time where there is talent equal and in most cases better than yours. Frankly another Year would do them good especially maturing in their sport However if they go I hope they don't forget the hand that fed them, the school that took a chance and spent lots of Money for their education, the School that stood by its promise as you embarrassed it with fights, drunken rages, throwing bottles at cars etc. When you go you need to be at the top of your Game,oh you were good but you were NOT at the top of your game, think about it. It doesn't get you what you think it does when you go Pro it must be done when your value is at the maximum range. Ask yourself the question Junior; are you at the top of your talent?

OrangePride writes:

This is GREAT news. We need some of these top players to return. Would love to see CP return, but the academic concerns and some of his tweets suggest that just ain't in the cards. But, believe it or don't, IMO the nucleus of a sound team is here. A couple of good freshmen, a JUCO here and there and we could be very sound along the first team next year....depth will still be an issue. And even with the departure of most of this receiving corps, we have some young players in the wings that might well work out. The big thing is just how will this new staff coach up this group, and what systems will they employ to minimize some of the weaknesses that we all know exist. I would not put my enthusiasm level at wildly optimistic, but I think there is hope and perhaps some light at the end of the tunnel (hopefully not an oncoming train). GO VOLS!

KVCrockett writes:

With BIG MAC coming back, add Couch,Sentimore, Saulsberry, Walls,Carson, Hood, Taylor, J. Williams, Clark, Obrien, and hopefully a couple more in this years class,Ithink our D- LINE may be better than folks think they will.

OrangePride writes:

in response to Mr_Bandman:

If our defense could have allowed one fewer TD per game, we would have finished 8-4. 10 points fewer & we're 9-3, and who is to say we wouldn't have put up a fight against Vandy if we were coming into that game at 8-2? Anyway, good news...bring in some strong recruits on defense & WR and lets get moving!

And if "wishes" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we would've all had a Merry Christmas!

VolFolks writes:

in response to Mr_Bandman:

If our defense could have allowed one fewer TD per game, we would have finished 8-4. 10 points fewer & we're 9-3, and who is to say we wouldn't have put up a fight against Vandy if we were coming into that game at 8-2? Anyway, good news...bring in some strong recruits on defense & WR and lets get moving!

If, then...woulda, shoulda, coulda.

If we had scored one more point than 7 other teams, we would have been 12-0 and playing Notre Dame, which we may have been able to actually beat.

Let's just start getting it done, and the sooner the better!

JonGrudensAgent writes:

He needs to improve his technique and conditioning IMO.

Tough to stay low with his height but he played too upright at times and was gassed by the second quarter in most games.

He can be a dominant run stuffer and I think the switch to a 4-3 should help him. Fewer double teams than being the NT

laraccoon writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

next year Patterson will be making millions and you will still be babbling your opinion on these boards . and your calling him stupid ?

1pavolfan writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

if true , what a shame, he is fun to watch !!!!

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Who? Did he play last year?

John_10065 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

next year Patterson will be making millions and you will still be babbling your opinion on these boards . and your calling him stupid ?

Something about the pot and the kettle comes to mind.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Glad to hear this from McCullers, sad to see more frivolous negative drivel on here. Hey gang, it's 2013, 2012 is gone, behind us. We have a new head coach on Rocky Top and a new approach/outlook. I hope McCullers becomes the force in the middle on defense we need. I also hope to see Linebackers step up strongly and defensive backs learn how to run with and cover receivers. They need to learn to tackle too.
I'm embracing the New and looking forward to see who we WILL HAVE on the team instead of speculating on who's going pro. GO BIG ORANGE!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just more stupid, pointless negativity from you! Couldn't you give him just a LITTLE credit for REALIZING he was not ready for the NFL and knows he needs to get better? Wouldn't that be a reasonable meaning of "unfinished business" for any NFL wannabe? Wouldn't YOU jump if somebody offered you big bucks? Wouldn't you stay for more training or education if you knew you weren't qualified for the big-money job yet? As I said, just stupid, pointless drivel; write just any sneering, negative thing to put down the Vols or their fans, whether it makes any sense or not. Feel better now, jerk?

D60 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

next year Patterson will be making millions and you will still be babbling your opinion on these boards . and your calling him stupid ?

Very good! Same as Shaquille O'Neal couldn't write his name when he left LSU un telling what he's worth today

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Just more stupid, pointless negativity from you! Couldn't you give him just a LITTLE credit for REALIZING he was not ready for the NFL and knows he needs to get better? Wouldn't that be a reasonable meaning of "unfinished business" for any NFL wannabe? Wouldn't YOU jump if somebody offered you big bucks? Wouldn't you stay for more training or education if you knew you weren't qualified for the big-money job yet? As I said, just stupid, pointless drivel; write just any sneering, negative thing to put down the Vols or their fans, whether it makes any sense or not. Feel better now, jerk?

John,

Whew ! Some sanity comes forward on this struggling site.........thank you ! While all too often we have these whiny trolls such as Billy the kid and Wilted Flowers, now comes a fairly new troll....."I own many........books on how to be a whiny troll."

It's a good bet that if we see too many whiny posts from this guy he'll be hx on this site.

But John, it's good to see a legitimate Vol fan and someone who clearly understands the game, someone who is a real departure from these idiotic trolls. Thanks

voloffaith writes:

in response to OrangePride:

And if "wishes" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we would've all had a Merry Christmas!

UHH..I did have a Merry CHRISTmas OP! The rhyme was still cute as it has been over the years...tra la la la....

voloffaith writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

John,

Whew ! Some sanity comes forward on this struggling site.........thank you ! While all too often we have these whiny trolls such as Billy the kid and Wilted Flowers, now comes a fairly new troll....."I own many........books on how to be a whiny troll."

It's a good bet that if we see too many whiny posts from this guy he'll be hx on this site.

But John, it's good to see a legitimate Vol fan and someone who clearly understands the game, someone who is a real departure from these idiotic trolls. Thanks

I_Own_Manny.....or I_Own_Man_Y.....or as a changed posterette on 12/22 after other posterette name zapped or cover blown came back with this'n

6972 writes:

Some offensive linemen in the SEC just developed a good case of diarrhea.

Theo writes:

Great news. The 3-4 really made judging our talent on the defensive side of the ball very difficult. Looking forward to seeing what they can really do next fall.
BTW - interesting defensive line up Stanford used on obvious pass situations - four defensive ends. Really fun to watch.
Awsome, really awe some, hit by the gamecock kid. Definitely the turning point of the game and the biggest hit I saw all year.
LSU should have beaten Clemson but yet again Les (the luckiest man in college football) proved he can recruit but can not manage a game. SEC should be 4 - 1 not 3 - 2.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Theo:

Great news. The 3-4 really made judging our talent on the defensive side of the ball very difficult. Looking forward to seeing what they can really do next fall.
BTW - interesting defensive line up Stanford used on obvious pass situations - four defensive ends. Really fun to watch.
Awsome, really awe some, hit by the gamecock kid. Definitely the turning point of the game and the biggest hit I saw all year.
LSU should have beaten Clemson but yet again Les (the luckiest man in college football) proved he can recruit but can not manage a game. SEC should be 4 - 1 not 3 - 2.

Theo,

You're correct about Miles. Could not believe giving the ball back to Clemson as hot as Boyd was. Ball on the 49 with 1:29 left, 2nd and 3. Enter the pass happy mode.
Could not believe they couldn't get 2 yards in 3 plays with an SEC offensive line. All Miles did was save the timeouts for Clemson and gave them the ball quickly. LSU could have used someone like # 7 for South Carolina to rush the passer. Boyd made some incredible pass completions didn't he?

Best Bowls were : Cincy-Duke, Clemson-LSU,
and South Carolina-Michigan.

Let's hope the Alabama-N D game will be just as good.

TNVol71 writes:

Thank you for coming back, Mr. McCullars. It has been a true pleasure seeing your improvement this past year. Looking forward to seeing you continue as a true Vol. Be the beast you can be on a new Vol defense that will begin to stop people. GBO!!

TNVol71 writes:

Sorry for the mis-spelling of McCullers. Go Vols.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Who? Did he play last year?

hey litte zz gayta girl check out muschamp ha ha
http://espn.go.com/college-football/

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolFanInTheBoro:

hey litte zz gayta girl check out muschamp ha ha
http://espn.go.com/college-football/

forgot to mention muschamps coat buttoning is misaligned
http://espn.go.com/college-football/

Supersayin1 writes:

A scary thought would be a slimmer, faster, Meaner McCullers!! He would be destroying anything in his path!

rb4346 writes:

in response to laraccoon:

next year Patterson will be making millions and you will still be babbling your opinion on these boards . and your calling him stupid ?

You are absolutely correct and I might add he will not be flipping burgers like the genius who called him stupid!

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

Big Dan! Thanks Man!

chattabluetick writes:

in response to Theo:

Great news. The 3-4 really made judging our talent on the defensive side of the ball very difficult. Looking forward to seeing what they can really do next fall.
BTW - interesting defensive line up Stanford used on obvious pass situations - four defensive ends. Really fun to watch.
Awsome, really awe some, hit by the gamecock kid. Definitely the turning point of the game and the biggest hit I saw all year.
LSU should have beaten Clemson but yet again Les (the luckiest man in college football) proved he can recruit but can not manage a game. SEC should be 4 - 1 not 3 - 2.

Chief Chavis backed his defense up similar to the Bama game and allowed Clemson to march right down the field to take the W. They began to cover receivers with a 12 yard cushion.

volforeverandever writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Who? Did he play last year?

Who is that blue and orange team getting hammered by those guys from Louisville?

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

He needs to improve his technique and conditioning IMO.

Tough to stay low with his height but he played too upright at times and was gassed by the second quarter in most games.

He can be a dominant run stuffer and I think the switch to a 4-3 should help him. Fewer double teams than being the NT

Agree...his conditioning was a problem. I'm no expert, but I think losing some of his weight, might actually help his play. He needs to be faster with his hands and feet. Less weight allows him to come off the line, and get a stronger push. Just my opinion.

justafan4ut writes:

in response to volforeverandever:

Who is that blue and orange team getting hammered by those guys from Louisville?

Think they are called the Flureda Chumps?

DRORANGELOVE writes:

There is no doubt in my mind that Daniel has made the RIGHT decision for his future. He will be " coached up " and get a lot better under this new coaching staff and barring injury he will definitely be a first round draft choice in next years draft. This guy has the potential to be better than Reggie White, John Henderson, and Albert Haynesworth, "IF" he has the discipline and desire. Good Luck Daniel. GBO

mrvol2u writes:

in response to I_OWN_MANY:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To paraphrase Walter Matthau, you are a putz!

This is big, no pun intended. DC was in shape and most likely would have been drafted. Read the USA Today article on the biggest man in college football, about DC, and maybe you will be better informed and less likely to type such drivel.

As for a big belly, check out Vince Wilfork of NE Pats belly. You would not consider him ready for the NFL?

Putz! That's for your other post on other Vols.

GO VOLS!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

Remember, Williams didnt do anything until he got some decent coaching in 09 and he became all SEC and a 1st round pick.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Remove it if you must, KNS, but the comment never gets old.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to chattabluetick:

Chief Chavis backed his defense up similar to the Bama game and allowed Clemson to march right down the field to take the W. They began to cover receivers with a 12 yard cushion.

I was thinking the same thing. As great as Chavis' defenses look much of the time, I was having flashbacks to the times of "first-and-Chavis" that we all remember too well.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I was thinking the same thing. As great as Chavis' defenses look much of the time, I was having flashbacks to the times of "first-and-Chavis" that we all remember too well.

Oops! My bad. I meant to say "THIRD-and-Chavis". Looks like the Gatas were playing that same defense much of the time last night. The only difference was that they never had a lead to "protect".

OrangePride writes:

in response to voloffaith:

UHH..I did have a Merry CHRISTmas OP! The rhyme was still cute as it has been over the years...tra la la la....

Glad you had a great holiday and CHRISTmas. Cute rhyme, but I was (as you already figured out) just being a smart alec. BTW....I think we are beginning to get a little positive movement on the recruiting front. Just have to wait and see where it all shakes out.

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