Morley makes mark

Last spring, having flunked out of school, he was nowhere to be found on Tennessee's campus. Last Saturday, however, he was EVERYWHERE.

Back on The Hill after a year in academic exile at Pellissippi State Community College, junior safety Demetrice Morley wasn't in on every play of the Vols' first full-scale scrimmage ... but it sometimes seemed that way.

On the 10th play of the workout he stepped in front of the intended receiver to deftly pick off a pass by No. 1 quarterback Jonathan Crompton. Although the pick was nullified due to a quick whistle, Morley's instincts and timing were impeccable.

Moments later, again working against the No. 1 offense, Morley jumped a quick hitch to tight end Luke Stocker and barely missed an interception that would've produced a 70-yard touchdown return. Stocker wound up catching the ball for a one-yard gain.

Just two plays later, Morley again found himself in the right place at the right time, picking off a tipped Crompton pass near the goal line. This interception was allowed to stand.

When asked after the scrimmage to pinpoint a few highlights, head coach Phillip Fulmer replied, "Morley getting his hands on the ball. We only planned to play him and Eric (Berry) 20 plays, and that's about what they got."

Morley and fellow safety Berry didn't play much Saturday but they played awfully well. Although Berry has just one year of college experience and Morley is shedding some rust after a one-year layoff from the game, they are considered by some to be the NCAA's finest safety tandem.

"That feels good but there's still more work we've got to do," said Morley, a 6-2, 195-pound junior from Miami. "If we want to be called that (the best) we've still got to get in there everyday. We can't take no days off. We've still got to lift weights, go to class, watch film, practice hard and do those things to be that (top-rated) tandem."

Watching Berry earn Freshman All-America honors last fall, Morley was eager to team up with him in the Vol secondary this fall. So far, the pairing seems to be a natural. They are fast friends, as well as talented teammates.

"I didn't know how it was going to be but it just all fell into place by itself," Morley said. "Eric Berry, I love him, man. We do everything together. That's my roommate for the camp, so we're always together. We watch film together. We're like the quarterbacks of the defense – making the calls, checks and everything."

Morley feels so close to Berry, in fact, that he routinely spends school breaks at the Berry family home in Georgia.

"I go home with him to Fairburn because Miami is so far away," Morley noted. "His family is good people. I love Eric Berry. He's a good person, a people person, and he's always fun to be around."

Demetrice Morley is fun to be around, too ... unless you're trying to catch a pass in his area of the field.

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