Grid banquet is Thursday

The Tennessee football team didn't exhibit the brilliance most fans expected this fall, but the Vols showed a lot of determination, fighting through injuries and other disappointments to finish 8-4. Fans wishing to salute the team's perseverence will get a chance to do so Thursday night, when UT holds its annual football banquet.

The feat begins at 7 p.m. at the University Center Ballroom. Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased through the Knoxville Quarterback Club. For more information, call the UT football office at (865) 974-1234.

The banquet's featured speaker is J.C. Watts, a former star quarterback at Oklahoma University who has spent the past eight years in Congress. Since 1998, he has been chairman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-highest position in the House.

''I encourage our fans to come out to the University Center at seven o'clock and get involved in that to hear J.C. Watts speak,'' Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer said. ''I've heard him on a number of occasions. He's one of the most impressive men that I've had the good fortune to listen to. Obviously, he's a great man and a great American. And he's obviously a former great football player.''

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