KNOXVILLE – The 2012 Tennessee football senior class has seen it all.
Some have been around five years and have played for three head coaches, two interim head coaches, multiple coordinators, four strength coaches and as many as four different position coaches.
"I think if you talk about the 13 kids, they have seen a lot in their years here,” said interim head coach Jim Chaney. “They have worked hard this year. We didn't get the results that we would have liked as far as wins and losses. But they went out and played hard. Our kids would really appreciate any support the fans would give them. I think their pledge to the fans would be that they are going to try their butts off to beat Kentucky."
The 13 departing seniors came in at various times because of redshirts and transfers, but the ones that were in Knoxville for the standard four years enter Saturday’s game with a 22-27 overall record.
They can’t change the past, and there won’t be a bowl game, so Saturday’s game against Kentucky is all they have left to play for.
“The seniors have had a hard time here with all the coaching changes,” senior Ben Bartholomew said. “We want to go out with a smile on our faces. So that’s what we are playing for and I think that is a great motivational factor, especially with the senior leadership we have. I think all the guys respect the seniors. So I definitely think they will play for us.”
The 13 Tennessee seniors playing their final game Saturday:
DB Corey Alexander (5-5, 165, Gallatin, Tenn.)
• Transferred to Tennessee from Pittsburgh in 2011 and walked on the football and track and field teams
• Has not seen any game action but participates on the scout team
OL Carson Anderson (6-1, 280, Florence, Ala.)
• Appeared in nine career games as a reserve
FB/TE Ben Bartholomew (6-2, 252, Nashville, Tenn.)
• Third-generation Vol appeared in 30 games with 12 starts
• Had 16 career receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown as both a fullback and a tight end
DE/LB Willie Bohannon (6-2, 253, Mobile, Ala.)
• Appeared in 45 career games and made five starts
• Has 66 career tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss
• Played primarily as a defensive end in the 4-3 and as an outside linebacker in the 3-4
DE Steven Fowlkes (6-5, 255, College Park, Ga.)
• Appeared in 16 career games, including nine this season mainly as a pass-rush specialist
• Originally recruited as a wide receiver but grew into being a defensive lineman
OL Darin Gooch (6-2, 290, Reno, Nev.)
• Junior college transfer who appeared in 12 career games, including a six-game stretch as the starting center in 2010
• Played mostly center but is a versatile lineman; known as one of the strongest overall players on the team
LB Herman Lathers (6-0, 230, Baton Rouge, La.)
• Appeared in 34 games and made 20 starts
• Has 176 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and an interception in his career
• Missed the 2011 season with a fractured ankle
TE Mychal Rivera (6-3, 244, Valencia, Cal.)
• Appeared in 36 games with 34 starts
• Has 71 career receptions for 954 yards and five TDs
• Named to Mackey Award (best tight end) Midseason Watch List in 2012
WR Zach Rogers (6-0, 175, Nashville, Tenn.)
• Appeared in 46 games with 14 starts
• Has 61 career receptions for 878 yards and eight touchdowns and four carries for 29 yards
CB Marsalis Teague (5-11, 180, Paris, Tenn.)
• Appeared in 40 games with 24 starts
• Began his career as a wide receiver and transitioned to defense in 2010
• Has 84 career tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery on defense and recorded 13 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns while at receiver
OL Dallas Thomas (6-5, 310, Baton Rouge, La.)
• One of the most experienced offensive linemen in program history; he appeared in 49 games with 36 starts
• After two years of starting at left tackle, switched to left guard in 2012
• Named to the Outland Trophy Watch List and received numerous other preseason honors before the 2012 season; expected to be a high draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
DB Prentiss Waggner (6-2, 182, Clinton, La.)
• Appeared in 48 games with 37 starts at either safety or cornerback
• Had 157 career tackles, two sacks, seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, 15 pass deflections and nine interceptions with 138 return yards
• Received numerous preseason honors in 2012, including Second-Team All-SEC recognition by the media
DB Rod Wilks (6-0, 220, Smyrna, Tenn.)
• Appeared in 39 career games as a wide receiver, linebacker, safety or on special teams
• Has 24 career tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @Daniel_LewisCBS.