Tant will pass up final season of eligibility

Head coach Bobby Johnson told the <i>Nashville City Paper</i> Monday that starting fullback Matthew Tant would forego his final season of eligibility. Tant, who rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games for the Commodores this past season, will try his luck in the NFL rather than return to school for a fifth season, the paper reported.

Head coach Bobby Johnson told the Nashville City Paper Monday that starting fullback Matthew Tant would forego his final season of eligibility. Tant, who rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games for the Commodores this past season, will try his luck in the NFL rather than return to school for a fifth season, the paper reported.

A graduate of Harpeth High School just outside Nashville, Tant had played his junior season despite a series of nagging injuries to his shoulder and knees. He had also developed into one of the team's strongest players, with a bench press of over 500 pounds.

Tant's departure opens up a scholarship but leaves a hole at fullback, where backup Clark Lea also graduates. Cassen Jackson-Garrison, who saw playing time at fullback as a true freshman in 2004, would be the heir apparent for the position next year, with redshirted freshman David Whittington also in the mix.

Quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive end Jovan Haye are both also considering ending their college careers early for the NFL, the City Paper reported. Both would be fifth-year seniors if they return next year.

Tant becomes the first Commodore to leave early for the NFL since linebacker Jamie Winborn did it after the 2000 season. Winborn was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers.


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