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‘Volunteering’ is no ‘Guess-work’
Nick Guess a UT Volunteer varsity long-snapper; brother is a U.S. Army volunteer in Middle East


Nick Guess is looking to head west — Berkeley, Calif. — to experience his first Big Orange gameday as a University of Tennessee varsity football player.

J.P. Guess, Nick’s older brother and fellow ex-Farragut Admiral player, sought the west coast — the Pacific Northwest — for an entirely different reason: to unwind after a military tour-of-duty in the Middle East lasting several months.

“Actually, he was in the [U.S. Army] Reserves, so I just figured he would never ever actually have to go,” said Nick, a 6-foot-3, 238-pound freshman long-snapper, during UT Football Media Day Saturday, Aug. 4. “When he got called up, it wasn’t even his platoon that got called, ’cause he was with a platoon in Chattanooga, but the platoon he went with was in Las Vegas.

“For some reason, one of their members couldn’t go, and he was at the top of the list, so he got pulled out and had to go,” Nick added. “It was real shocking — nobody ever though he was going to go, so everybody was real sad and all.”

J.P., a 1st Lieutenant, “graduated from Tennessee with a logistics degree, so he’s in charge of the convoys that travel across the desert,” Nick said. “He’s got to make sure everything’s in order. I think in his whole platoon, he’s like second in charge.

“He’s not really in, like, the area where’s everything’s shooting, he’s basically out in the middle of the desert in a big tent,” Nick added. “I think he was in Kuwait,” adding “I’m sure” J.P.’s been in Iraq, “but he’s not really allowed to talk about it.”

According to Nick, J.P. served “nine months to a year” on his first tour of duty before coming home in mid-July.

“Everybody was really worried about him,” Nick said. “But he got back alright, so everything’s cool now. And he’s on a trip with his friend,” as J.P. was fishing in the Northwestern U.S. in early August. “They’re going around to three national forests.”

If not for his UT Football duties, Nick said he’d “definitely” be with them.

J.P. is looking forward to little brother running through the “T” in Neyland Stadium.

“He says, ‘keep in line’ so he can have a ticket in the green seats over there,” Nick said, pointing to the “green seats” in the lower north end zone. “We get four seats if we travel with the team and we’re on the team and we dress.

“He’s always encouraging me because he says he wants one of the seats, but he just wants me to do well.”

A 2000 graduate of Farragut High School and former starting offensive lineman for the Admirals, J.P., now 24, “joined [the army] his sophomore summer here at UT, he went to officers’ boot camp,” Nick said.

About big brother’s FHS Football career, “He stayed 260 [pounds] his junior year, and then his senior year he dropped down to 190 and still started at tackle,” Nick said. “He had a girlfriend and just lost weight. He stopped eating. That’s not going to happen to me.”

Growing up, “It was a big brother, little brother relationship, he used to beat me up when I was little,” Nick said. “Now I’m bigger than him.”

NICK’S FUTURE

The Vols’ second-string long-snapper who was ranked by Ray Guy’s ProKicker.com as the nation’s No. 3 high school long-snapper in 2006, Nick said, “I’ve just been working really hard on my blocking and getting up out of my stance when I snap it. ’Cause in high school, you can just snap it and run down the field.

“But here, you have to snap and you have to block, and that was my main problem coming into here. Just keeping up with the speed of the game.”

Being included among varsity players in the Vols’ media guide, “It feels really good, it feels like coming here early [graduating FHS in December 2006] paid off that way,” Nick said.

Nick’s 2007 goal? “I’m still trying to compete for the [starting] job,” he said. “Even if I don’t get it, it’s going to keep Morgan [Cox, starter] getting better.”

As for thoughts of running through the “T” against Southern Mississippi, the Vols’ first home opponent, Sept. 8, “I can’t wait to run through, if I’m still lucky enough to be where I am,” the business major said. “A night game, everybody going crazy.”

As for possibly traveling to Berkeley with the Vols for the Sept. 1 season opener against the Cal Golden Bears, Nick said he’s especially interested in visiting the campus area for its historic significance.

“I’ve always been interested in all that stuff, like the hippie movement, it’s an interesting thing, everything that went on,” he said. “I’ve always liked the music that came out of that time.

“I’ve never been to California, so that’s just another perk.”

 

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