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Milton III, Thomas, Warren To Represent Vols at #SECMD23 July 20

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Quarterback Joe Milton III, defensive lineman Omari Thomas and tight end Jacob Warren will join head coach Josh Heupel to represent Tennessee at 2023 SEC Football Media Day in Nashville on Thursday, July 20.

The conference office unveiled each school’s representatives on Monday, a week prior to the event, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt from July 17-20. SEC Network will have full coverage all week.

Milton, a native of Pahokee, Florida, enters his sixth and final season at the collegiate level after a strong finish to the 2022 campaign as the most valuable player of the Orange Bowl. In two seasons with the Vols, he has thrown for 1,346 yards and 12 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Of the 114 FBS quarterbacks who threw 10 or more touchdown passes last season, Milton was the only one to not throw a pick.

Thomas returns as a leader at defensive tackle in his fourth season with the program. The Memphis native has played in 36 games with 19 starts, accumulating 57 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He has served as the Vols’ representative on the SEC Football Leadership Council the past two seasons.

Warren, UT’s starting tight end, elected to return for his sixth and final season. A leader on and off the field for the Vols, the Knoxville native has caught 37 passes for 416 yards and four touchdowns in his career. He made nine starts a year ago, catching 12 passes for 163 yards for the nation’s No. 1 offense. He is a five-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy.

Tennessee enters its third season under the direction of Heupel, who has posted an 18-8 record with seven victories over Top 25 teams and the program’s first New Year’s Six berth in the College Football Playoff era. The 2022 Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year, Heupel led the Vols to their first 11-win season in two decades, culminating with a victory over ACC champion Clemson in the Orange Bowl and a No. 6 final ranking.

The Vols report for preseason camp on Aug. 1 before going through their first practice on Aug. 2. Tennessee heads to Nashville for SEC Media Day nearly six weeks before it opens its 127th season in the Music City. The Vols take on Virginia at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET on Sept. 2 in Nissan Stadium.

Jackson’s Late Buckets Lift USA Past Canada, 67-63

LEÓN, MEXICO – Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson overcame foul trouble to hit a pair of late buckets and lift the USA to a dramatic 67-63 victory over Canada in the FIBA AmeriCup semifinals on Saturday night at Domo de la Feria.

The Americans (5-1) will meet Brazil (6-0) for the gold medal on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The USA suffered a 67-54 setback the first time these squads met in León on Tuesday.

Jackson played only 17 minutes in the contest on Saturday after picking up two fouls in the first quarter and her third and fourth infractions early in the third period. Despite that, she fired in 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and was one of two from the charity stripe. She also pulled down six rebounds, including the final one on an errant three-point shot by Canada with seconds remaining.

Fellow Lady Vol Jewel Spear saw 20 minutes of action, carding two points, a rebound and an assist.

Canada tied the game at 56 with just under eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter and again at 58 with 6:35 remaining. It finally took the lead, 61-58, with 6:03 left, forcing a USA timeout and the signal for Jackson to check back into the game.

With the USA struggling offensively, it turned up its defense a notch, limiting the Canadians to only five points the rest of the way. Jackson, meanwhile, helped her team get going on the other end, hitting a mid-range shot to put the USA back in front with 4:33 to go, 62-61. She then came through with a lay-up at the 1:59 mark to boost the score to 66-63 and provide the Americans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The USA had carved out a 22-17 edge after the opening 10 minutes of play. Jackson contributed four points to that lead on a pair of field goals, but the team’s leading scorer in the tournament had to head to the bench early after picking up two fouls in only 3:42 minutes of court time.

After Canada cut the American lead to 22-21 early in the second stanza, Jackson propelled her team back into a 25-21 advantage with a layup and a one-of-two shooting effort at the free-throw line. USA would build as much as a 12-point lead in the period before taking a 39-29 count into the intermission. Jackson’s 3-for-3 showing from the field helped her squad shoot 50 percent (15-30) in the first half.

Canada cut the USA edge to one at two different points in the third stanza while Jackson was on the bench with four fouls. With her team holding a slim 47-46 margin, Spear hit a pair of free throws to start her team on a 6-0 run toward a 53-46 lead with 1:25 to go in the period. Canada would outscore the Americans 4-1 the rest of the way to enter the final 10 minutes of the contest trailing by only four, 54-50.

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