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Messing seeks playing time, scholarship, leaves UT
Next grid stop: Division II power North Alabama

With no immediate hope of seeing any playing time, much less earning a scholarship, former Farragut High football standout Jason Messing is transferring from Tennessee to Division II power North Alabama.

The 6-foot-2, 205 pound red-shirt sophomore said his decision was practically a slam-dunk after talking with UT head coach Phillip Fulmer shortly after the Vols’ Orange and White spring game April 16.

“He told me that right now, he doesn’t have a scholarship available, and he’s looking at several other guys that he wants to give scholarships to at this point,” said Messing, who walked on at UT in the fall of 2002. “He said, ‘I’ll do everything in my power to help you get to where you want to go. I’m not sure I’m going to have a scholarship on down the road her e in the next year or so.’”

Primarily a defensive back buried on the Vols’ depth chart, Messing dressed for a handful of games — including the 2002 Peach Bowl versus Maryland — but never played.

Though maintaining, “I didn’t get much of a chance in the spring to show ’em what I could do,” Messing added that “I still love UT ... my heart’s always been there ... there’s no bitterness.”

Saying UT coaches helped him search for a school, Messing, 20, accepted NAU’s scholarship offer “in mid-June” and thinks he’ll see significant playing time for the three-time Division II national champs, probably at wide receiver.


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