Vols Senior QB Leaves Program

College Football News
Posted Apr 8, 2010

Tennessee has lost a fourth player during spring 2010.

By: BE Coleman

Tennessee has lost a fourth player during spring 2010. Senior quarterback Nick Stephens has decided he will leave the football program.

Coach Derek Dooley announced Stephens' decision after the squads Thursday practice session.

"In light of the way the first eight practices have gone and some of the competition we've created, he doesn't want to be here and risk not playing his senior year," said Dooley.

"We hate to lose Nick but I certainly understand it. It's a fifth-year quarterback who hasn't played. You go play football to play, and I understand the emotion of it," added Dooley.

Dooley announced Tuesday that he was cutting the Flower Mound, TX native snaps after he had a shaky first scrimmage last week. Stephens had been competing with junior Matt Simms from El Camino, CA and true freshman Tyler Bray from Kingburg, CA for the starting role.

The pair of California recruits had been awarded more snaps this week with the first team. The towering 6-7 Bray produced the best numbers during the scrimmage with an 8 out of 13 showing for 69 yards, TD.

"Nick is in his fifth year and has been trying to get on the field his whole career. He just felt it was too risky to go through another season, because he just wants to play."

Dooley acknowledged Stephens decision would allow Simms and Bray more time under center. WR Gerald Jones thinks the starter will be named before spring ends and will not push into preseason.

Simms, a JUCO transfer has built a quick chemistry with Jones and the other pass receivers. Jones feels he is the selection. Simms has one year of college ball over Bray as a starter.

"We'll give Matt and Tyler more reps," added Dooley. "From that standpoint, they are going to get more opportunity and a better chance to show what they can do."

Bray's family relocated from California to Knoxville despite Lane Kiffin's decision to take the Southern Cal job in mid January. He was an early mid term enrollee who recently graduated prep school in December.

Stephens was Scouts 11th best quarterback in 2006 when he signed with David Cutcliffe and Phillip Fulmer to play for the Volunteers. He played in 10 games and started 6 times during 2008 where he produced 982 total passing yards.

Stephens follows Will Brimfield, Bryce Brown and Aaron Douglas who each have decided to pursue different paths in their careers.

The Vols have another California recruit that Kiffin had signed in Nick Lamaison and Georgia native Nash Nance who signed with the Vols in February.

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