Crompton to start vs. Hogs

Redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton gets his first collegiate starting assignment Saturday when Tennessee visits Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference matchup. Head coach Phillip Fulmer made the announcement Thursday after practice.

"Jonathan's gotten most of the work with the ones this week and has continued to make progress," Fulmer said. "He's a young guy and he's certainly going to compete, as we saw in the ballgame last week.

"It's important that he doesn't go out there and make mistakes; those are the things that will get you beat. In the last ballgame, we had no offensive penalties and just the one turnover off the tipped pass. We had four takeaways and that gave us a chance to win the game. It's going to be a very similar game this week."

A Waynesville, N.C., native, Jonathan Crompton completed 11 of 24 attempts against LSU for 183 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Robert Meachem. The freshman added 22 rushing yards on six tries, but Fulmer thinks very little of Crompton running all around Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"He doesn't need to be taking on any tackles or linebackers," Fulmer said of the 6-4, 225-pound quarterback. "The goal is to play the next down."

Asked about the effect on his young signal-caller of Saturday's atmosphere, which includes an 8-1 Arkansas team undefeated in conference play and the hype surrounding the first-ever Fayetteville appearance of ESPN's College GameDay, Fulmer seemed to shrug.

"I think he's been a pretty cool customer about the whole thing," said Fulmer, whose Vols enter at 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. "I was amazed at his confidence in the last ballgame, although this will be a bigger test for him in a hostile environment. It's going to be a great experience."

Saturday's game captains, announced Thursday by the head coach, are defensive tackle Turk McBride, linebacker Marvin Mitchell, offensive tackle Arron Sears, placekicker James Wilhoit and wide receiver Bret Smith, who hails from Warren, Ark.

WILHOIT, AINGE GET ACADEMIC HONORS

Tennessee senior placekicker James Wilhoit and junior quarterback Erik Ainge have been voted onto the 2006 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 4 football teams. Wilhoit was a first-team selection and now earns a spot on the Academic All-America ballot, while Ainge was chosen for the second team.

Wilhoit actually is a graduate student at UT, having completed his communications degree last December with a 3.60 grade-point average. The Draddy Award semifinalist and three-time Academic All-Southeastern Conference pick has a 3.79 graduate school GPA in sports psychology.

Also a Lou Groza Award semifinalist for his on-field efforts, Wilhoit stands at 299 career points entering this weekend?s play and is fourth on UT?s all-time scoring chart. The Hendersonville native has converted 23 of his last 27 field goal attempts, including 12-of-15 in 2006, and is a perfect 8-of-8 this year inside 40 yards.

Ainge made the 2005 Academic All-SEC squad and owns a 3.50 GPA in political science.

The Hillsboro, Ore., product has been named a semifinalist for both the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards, sporting a 66.7 percent completion rate. Ainge is 168-of-252 passing for 2,216 yards and 16 touchdowns. Despite limited action Saturday against LSU because of an ankle injury, he still leads the Southeastern Conference in passing yards per game. After impressive wins over California and Georgia, Ainge earned national offensive player of the week honors from such outlets as USA Today, Sporting News, Walter Camp and Cingular.

The Academic All-District 4 teams, selected by regional members of the College Sports Information Directors of America, comprise honorees from Division I-A and I-AA teams in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan. The voting period for Academic All-America begins Tuesday.


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