Dane gets degree

He might not be the fast Vol basketball player in terms of footspeed but he was the fastest Vol to get his college degree.

Dane Bradshaw, one of the heroes of the Vols' 22-8 season last winter, has completed the requirements for his bachelor's degree in just three years. He took part in commencement exercises today and will attend graduate school while representing the 2006-07 Vols next season.

The 6-4, 200-pounder from Memphis was among 63 current and former Vols and Lady Vols representing 15 sports who graduated this morning.

The notables also included three 2005 football players who hope to be playing in the NFL next season -- linebacker Omar Gaither, drafted in the fifth round by Philadelphia; Jason Hall, a free-agent signee of the Buffalo Bills; and Chris Hannon, who signed a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Three more Vols with NFL aspirations -- safety Jason Allen, defensive end Parys Haralson and linebacker Kevin Simon -- previously earned their degrees. All were taken in the recent NFL Draft -- Allen going in Round 1 to Miami, Haralson in Round 5 to San Francisco and Simon in Round 7 to Washington.

Two Vol gridders of fairly recent vintage also took their degrees this morning. They are Buffalo Bills defensive back Jabari Greer (who finished up his Vol career in 2003) and defensive tackle Billy Ratliff (who exhausted his eligibility in the 1998 national championship season). Both returned to school through the Thornton Center's Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program.

Also graduating today were two members of the 2005-06 Lady Vol basketball team -- Tye'sha Fluker and Shanna Zolman. Both are expected to continue their basketball careers in the pro ranks. Fluker was a first-round WNBA Draft pick of the Charlotte Sting, while Fluker was a second-round selection of the San Antonio Silvers.

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