Wilhoit joins AAFL team

Former University of Tennessee standout James Wilhoit is still kicking … literally.

Wilhoit, the second-leading scorer in Vol history with 325 career points, is a member of Team Tennessee in the fledgling All-American Football League. The team will play its home games at Neyland Stadium, starting with an April 12 opener against Team Texas.

James Wilhoit, who kicked 59 field goals and 148 extra points during his stint at UT, said Team Tennessee is trying to lure former Vol Tee Martin out of retirement to play quarterback.

"The last thing Tee did here was win a (1998) national championship," Wilhoit noted, "so he wants to be sure he'll have an offensive line that can protect him."

The AAFL also has franchises in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan and Texas. Team Alabama will play at Legion Field in Birmingham, Team Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Team Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Team Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit and Team Texas at Rice Stadium in Houston.

Former Tennessee head coach and athletics director Doug Dickey is a board member for the AAFL. Former Vol quarterback Andy Kelly, retired after 14 years in the Arena Football League, will coach Team Tennessee. Former Gator quarterback Shane Matthews will coach Team Florida.

Wilhoit, Tennessee's No. 1 place-kicker from 2003 through 2006, barely missed catching on with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens last summer. He is back in Knoxville these days, doing some work in the UT Development Office and eagerly awaiting the start of the AAFL season.

"I'm hoping to do well in the AAFL," he said, "and maybe get another shot with an NFL team."

Wilhoit won't be the only AAFL player familiar to Vol fans. Dozens of former SEC players are expected to compete. Former Gator Chris Leak has signed on as quarterback of Team Florida. Former Razorback standout Clint Stoerner, whose fourth-quarter fumble at Neyland Stadium was a key play in UT's '98 national title run, will quarterback Team Arkansas.


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