Nuclear Volunteer

Calling Tennessee's newest football commitment "The Bomb" isn't just spreading hyperbole. It's honoring a piece of family history.

Zach Fulton, a heralded 6-5, 315-pound offensive line prospect from Homewood High in Flossmoor, Illinois, gave his pledge to Vol coach Lane Kiffin at approximately 1:45 this afternoon during a meeting in the head man's office.

Fulton decided shortly after visiting Tennessee's Lineman Camp earlier this month that he wanted to be a Volunteer. The news pleased his father, Glen. It also pleased his paternal grandfather, Charlie Fulton, who has strong ties to the Knoxville area that go back to the early 1940s.

"Dad used to work in Oak Ridge," Glen Fulton explained. "He was only 16 when he got the job but he lied and said he was 18. He told me he didn't realize at the time what he was working on, but he found out later he was helping build nuclear bombs (at what would come to be known as Oak Ridge National Laboratory)."

Naturally, Glen Fulton found his father's story somewhat amazing.

"I asked Dad if he was pulling my leg, and he said it was the truth," Glen said. "Then I saw a show on the History Channel (regarding Oak Ridge's role in World War II) and realized it was all true."

As fate would have it, Charlie Fulton will not be present when his grandson signs scholarship papers with the Vols next February. Charlie died June 20, on the eve of Father's Day. After postponing a scheduled June 27 trip to Knoxville, however, Zach visited the campus today and gave his pledge.

"My dad loved Tennessee," Glen Fulton said, "and he was excited about Zach playing for Tennessee."

Vol fans should be excited, too. Zach Fulton may not help build bombs, as his grand-dad did, but he has the tools to help rebuild the Vols' proud football tradition.

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