KNOXVILLE – It’s not too often that a walk-on kicker/punter receives much publicity.
But when that player is ranked as the seventh-best kicker in the nation by 247Sports and the school is Tennessee, where kicking woes have been the norm for the past few years, it’s a big deal.
Andrew Gantz, who originally pledged to attend UT as a preferred walk-on in January, changed his mind over the weekend and announced that he will attend the University of Cincinnati as a preferred walk-on instead of Tennessee.
“I will now be playing football at The University of Cincinnati, I had to make the best decision for my family and myself. Thank you to everyone for your support! I wish nothing but the best for the University of Tennessee and will continue to work hard at UC,” Gantz said via Twitter.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Gantz spurned scholarship offers from Nevada, Utah and Portland State to explore preferred walk-on roles at several major programs. He chose the Vols over Ohio State originally, but now has switched to Cincinnati, a school located approximately one hour from his home.
Gantz didn’t sign a letter of intent with UT since he planned to walk on, meaning he could change his mind at any point without having to sit out.
Though Gantz didn’t list playing time as a reason for the switch, the Vols have added a pair of specialists since he originally committed. Sophomore punter Tim Gleeson announced his intentions to transfer to UT from Wyoming in May. Tennessee also received a commitment from punter/kicker Aaron Medley two weeks ago. Both will be eligible to play for UT in 2014.
Senior Michael Palardy left spring as the likely starter for all kicking duties in 2013. Other specialists on the roster include junior punter Matt Darr, junior kicker Derrick Brodus and redshirt freshman kicker George Bullock.
Commitments have impressive camp showing: Tennessee commitments running back Jalen Hurd and defensive lineman Joe Henderson each won MVP honors for their position group at the Nike Football Training Camp in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend.
That’s not stunning news for Hurd, who many consider to be among the best players in the nation at any position. But Henderson’s performance surprised some. The three-star defensive end outperformed some elite company, including five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand.
Brewer selected for Career in Sports Forum: Senior linebacker Brent Brewer was among the approximately 300 student-athletes selected to attend the NCAA Career in Sports Forum, held June 8-11 in Indianapolis.
The Career in Sports Forum brings career leaders together to discuss their professional career paths and to enlighten student-athletes on career choices and future decisions they’ll need to consider if they choose to work in collegiate athletics.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga