Crompton may start JV game

It won't count but sophomore quarterback Jonathan Crompton could get his second start as a Tennessee Vol this week.

Crompton, who redshirted in 2005 and spent most of 2006 on the sidelines watching Erik Ainge run the offense, is expected to be behind center when the Vol junior varsity hosts Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy Thursday at 7 p.m. in Neyland Stadium.

A former prep All-American from Waynesville, N.C., Crompton had shoulder surgery in 2005 that caused him to miss the entire season. He saw limited action in 2006, relieving an injured Ainge in the second quarter vs. LSU and starting the following week against Arkansas.

This fall Crompton has played sparingly again, completing three of six passes for 13 yards through four games. Although he provides valuable insurance behind Ainge, he could get the starting call in the junior varsity game.

"We're kicking that around," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I'd like to play him but I sure don't want to get him hit and hurt."

Fulmer said he may ask Hargrave head man Robert Prunty if Crompton can wear a green jersey, designating him not to be tackled.

"We did that last time we played NEO (Northeastern Oklahoma) here, and they got mad about it," Fulmer said. "But he needs to play, and if he plays he plays live (full-contact) probably."

Players are limited to 12 games during the regular season, so any Vol who participates in the JV game must sit out one of the varsity games. Crompton did not play in the opener vs. Cal, so he can play Thursday night without exceeding the 12-game limit.

Other scholarship players who might see action Thursday night include quarterback Nick Stephens, offensive linemen Darius Myers and Ramone Johnson, receivers Gerald Jones and Ahmad Paige, defensive end Ben Martin, defensive tackles Victor Thomas and Chase Nelson, linebackers Savion Frazier and LaMarcus Thompson, defensive backs Dennis Rogan and Art Evans.

Because Hargrave features several major-college prospects, Fulmer called the game "a recruiting opportunity," but added that it also represents "a chance to see some of our players that haven't gotten a chance to play very much."

Although players ticketed for redshirt years cannot participate in the JV game, several of the Vols' little-used underclassmen should get a chance to play.

"It'll be fun, and it'll be a chance for people to see some young guys," Fulmer noted. "Nick Stephens, every scrimmage we've had, he's thrown a couple of touchdowns. Hopefully, he'll have a chance to do that. Looking at some of their (Hargrave's) defensive ends, he'd better throw it quick."

There is no admission charge and no parking charge for the JV game.

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