KNOXVILLE – Tennessee cornerback Izauea Lanier will be academically ineligible for the 2012 season, head coach Derek Dooley confirmed through a release on Thursday afternoon.
Lanier, a redshirt junior originally out of Gordo, Ala., was impressive in spring practice and was named a co-starter (along with senior Prentiss Waggner) at the right cornerback spot on the Vols’ post-spring depth chart.
His strong spring came on the heels of a productive sophomore campaign. Lanier won the starting job away from freshman Justin Coleman and started the last nine games of the season, totaling 48 tackles and four passes defended on the season.
Dooley praised the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back in spring practice for his size and raw talent. His challenge to Lanier was to improve his overall technique and consistency.
"That word, that's a big word – trust,” Dooley said. “What he has is he's long. He's big. He's a big corner. He has to learn how to use his skill sets. I think the big thing with him is consistency in his technique. It takes a lot of discipline."
Lanier is the first known casualty of what was reportedly a tough year in the classroom for the Vols. Various reports had the Vols’ football team grade-point average between 1.9 and 2.1 (out of 4.0) for the fall semester. The Knoxville radio station WNML reported that as many as 30 football players were on academic probation in the spring semester.
The spring was more successful as the University reported a 2.71 GPA for the football team.
Junior defensive lineman Corey Miller and junior offensive tackle JerQuari Schofield both missed spring practice as they attended to academic concerns.
Federal privacy laws prevent University employees from disclosing GPAs for specific students.
Twelve freshman arrive on campus
While Lanier will not be on the field in 2012, the Vols did welcome 12 incoming freshman who have officially enrolled in the first session of summer classes:
Cornerback Deion Bonner
Wide receiver Drae Bowles
Kicker/Punter George Bullock
Linebacker Kenny Bynum
Wide receiver Jason Croom
Cornerback Daniel Gray
Wide receiver Alton Howard
Linebacker Justin King
Defensive end/linebacker LaTroy Lewis
Defensive tackle Daniel McCullers
Defensive back LaDarrell McNeil
Defensive tackle Danny O'Brien
The 12 new enrollees will join wide receiver Cody Blanc, running back Alden Hill, quarterback Nathan Peterman, tight end Justin Meredith, defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore, defensive lineman Trent Taylor and defensive back Tino Thomas, all of whom enrolled in January and participated in spring practice.
Running back Quenshaun Watson, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and running back Davante Bourque are all expected to enroll in the second session of summer courses that begin in early July.
The Vols signed 22 total players in the 2012 signing class.