Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer said Vol fans should look for tight end Brad Cottam to hit the playing field soon.
Cottam and the coaching staff were hopeful of an NCAA decision granting a sixth season to the Germantown senior after he injured his wrist in a preseason scrimmage. That decision appears unlikely and Cottam has practiced the last two days.
“There wasn’t any indication whatsoever that it was going to go through and the commissioner was not at all encouraging that it would go through,” Fulmer said after Wednesday’s workout at Haslam Field. “We had no choice. We had to make a decision.
“We’re playing for a championship here over the next several weeks. Brad was ready and we were ready and he’s had his wrist re-evaluated. We’re glad to have him back.”
Cottam was expected to team with fellow senior Chris Brown as anchors for the Tennessee passing game, which was dealing with the loss of all three starting wide receivers from 2006.
Brown has come through with a career-high 32 catches this season for 223 yards and five touchdowns. Cottam won’t be able to match those numbers but still hopes he can make a contribution down the stretch.
“He wants to play now,” Fulmer said. “If there was any possibility of having the sixth year, we all would have made the decision to do that. It’s my opinion that they should look at each one of those scenarios individually, and maybe they do.
“But we’re going on. Brad’s ready to go, we’re ready to go. We’re trying to get ready to play a really fine Arkansas team.”
Earlier Wednesday, Fulmer made his donation to the 20th annual Orange and Blue Blood Drive in his office at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.
“I think it’s a great way to not only show our school spirit, but donate to a great cause as well,” said Fulmer, who donates during this competition on a yearly basis.
This year’s showdown takes place Nov. 12-16, with donations being accepted at the University Center on the UT campus and at Knoxville’s Medic Blood Center at 1601 Ailor Ave.
The series record stands at 9-9-1 between the two schools.
Each year the competition helps supply the Medic Blood Center with enough blood to last from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Medic is the sole provider of blood to 21 counties and 28 hospitals in East Tennessee.
Those donating blood receive a free T-shirt and pint of Baskin Robbins ice cream. It takes less than an hour to donate blood and one donation can save three lives.
Medic also provides Family Blood Coverage. A pint of blood ensures that a person’s immediate family does not have to pay blood processing fees at any hospital in the United States for one year after their donation.
Dr. Carl Nelson established Medic in 1958 under the sponsorship of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine. Area physicians supported the independent, not-for-profit blood center because they wanted a source of blood from volunteer donors and desired centralized blood collection, testing and distribution. Blood-supplier processing fees charged to hospitals finance Medic’s operational and capital costs.