KNOXVILLE -- Two University of Tennessee football players are trying their feet at track this spring.
Tailback/receiver Rajion Neal and tailback/return specialist Devrin Young have been added to the Volunteers' track roster as sprinters, UT announced Friday. Neal is with the Vols and will compete in the 60-meter dash at the Akron Invitational this weekend. Young did not make the trip.
"Rajion and Devrin will provide additional speed to our sprint group and depth to our relay teams," UT director of track and field J.J. Clark said in the school's release. "I look forward to seeing them develop and try to help us on the track this season."
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Neal, who could work at both receiver and tailback for UT this offseason, finished his sophomore season with 13 catches for 269 yards, including a four-catch, 125-yard performance in the season-ending loss at Kentucky. He did not participate in track at Sandy Creek High School in Fayetteville, Ga., but the Vols moved him from tailback to receiver last season simply to find a place for him to use his speed. Neal has been auto-timed at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Young, a Knoxville native, made an impact on kickoff and punt returns after a broken collarbone forced a late start to his freshman season. The 5-8, 165-pounder averaged 23 yards on 27 kickoff returns and nearly 12 yards on eight punt returns and finished third on the team with 756 all-purpose yards. He finished second in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 200-meter race in the Class AAA state championships in 2010.
Receiver Justin Hunter pulled off the football-track double last spring, reaching the NCAA indoor championships in the long jump. The rising junior will miss this track season while rehabbing a torn ACL from September. He won't be available for spring football practice, and the Vols hope he's close to 100 percent by the start of June.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...