Vols tab four as 'most improved'

Four Tennessee footballers -- two each on offense and defense -- share the 2005 spring practice honors for most improved performers.

Junior center David Ligon and freshman guard Ramon Foster split the Harvey Robinson Award given to offensive players, while junior defensive back Corey Campbell and sophomore linebacker Ryan Karl claimed the Andy Spiva Award for most improved defenders. The foursome will be recognized for their achievements during Saturday's Edamerica Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium.

Ligon, a 6-5, 300-pounder from Memphis, moved from guard during the offseason and currently stands atop the depth chart at the crucial center position. Foster, a 6-6, 340-pound redshirt from Henning, is second team at right guard heading into the summer.

"Ramon has constantly improved," offensive coordinator Randy Sanders said. "He had surgery (foot) right after the bowl game so he had a little bit of a slow start, but he really has done well.

"And David has done a nice job for us. We're not perfect yet; we still fumble some snaps now and then -- especially when you're snapping to three different quarterbacks like he has all spring. But we're encouraged by David and we feel comfortable with him playing center for us."

Campbell, 6-3, 190 pounds from Spring, Texas, has made eight starts in his two years with the Vols, hauling in six career interceptions. Karl, a 6-0, 210-pounder from Franklin, appeared in 11 games last year and had a freshman highlight with his first collegiate interception to close the SBC Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M.

"What a competitor," defensive coordinator John Chavis said of Karl. "We knew he was a good athlete and he's a guy who's going to play a lot of football for us.

"Corey Campbell has been challenged and I think he has responded. I like the way he went about spring practice, doing everything we asked him to do and being as physical as he needed to be."

The award winners, selected annually by the coaching staff, have been chosen at the conclusion of spring practice since 1979. They are named for Robinson, a former UT player (1929-32), assistant coach (1946-52, 1960-63) and head coach (1953-54), and for Spiva, the outstanding Vols linebacker from 1973-76.

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