Wade's on track ... finally

Jonathan Wade got his football career on track by getting off his fleet feet off the track last March and April. The speedster from Shreveport, La., ran sprints for Tennessee's track squad during the springs of 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, slowing his development as a football player.

The light finally came on for Wade last October. He wrested the starting left cornerback job from Roshaun Fellows by Game 4 vs. Ole Miss and kept it the rest of the season. Wade returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown in his first start, then added a 34-yard interception return to the Georgia 1-yard line in his second start.

Wade continued to progress as the season did, finishing the fall with 32 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, a fumble recovery and the two interceptions. He then spent March and April sharpening his football skills for the first time in his UT career.

"Jonathan Wade has shown some maturity," head coach Phillip Fulmer said recently. "He stayed with us all spring for the first time. He showed some toughness, and it's about time. It's about time he played as consistently as he needs to."

In addition to Wade, Tennessee returns starting free safety Jonathan Hefney and starting strong safety Antwan Stewart from 2005. Also back is Inquoris Johnson, who started the last six games of ‘05 at right corner after Jason Allen dislocated his hip. Then there's Fellows, who is listed as a backup heading into 2006 but has 12 career starts at cornerback.

"The guys that are back have played," Fulmer noted, "and that's a real plus for us. Inky Johnson, once Jason Allen got hurt last year, did a really, really good job stepping in."

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