UT Martin football holds 2012 Spring Game
MARTIN, Tenn. – Freshman Trent Garland says he took the long way to The University of Tennessee at Martin and the Skyhawk football team.
Garland showed how happy he was to be a Skyhawk Saturday morning as he made his collegiate debut in the annual Blue and Orange Spring Game at Hardy M. Graham Stadium.
The 5-9, 180-pound running back saw some reps, as did rising seniors Tevin Barksdale and Jason McNair. DJ McNeil, DeAndre Mann and Ryan McCray also saw some action.
“The coaches were recruiting me right out of high school, but I decided to go to Middle Tennessee,” Garland said.
While Garland was at MTSU, Charles Sweeton, who played high school football with Garland at Lawrence County, was talking to UT Martin coaches about Garland.
“Things weren’t right until one night when UT Martin coach Mac Bryan called me and said, ‘Garland we still think you would be a good fit at UT Martin.’
“I missed the game so much, I told coach Bryan I would be there (Martin) for the spring semester.”
After Garland talked to Bryan, he called his buddy, Sweeton. Garland was a part of the Lawrence County High School team that made back-to-back state playoff appearances. Sweeton’s senior season, Lawrence County went 9-3 and lost in the second round. Lawrence County went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Tullahoma.
“I told him let’s make this thing happen,” the 6-5, 291-pound offensive lineman said. “I knew he (Garland) could make it here. Trent is a hit you in the face type of runner. He is not going to be a finesse runner, but he is going to be consistent and get those tough yards up the middle.”
Garland scored a 31-yard touchdown in the game, and backed up Sweeton’s praise.
“I don’t have that same feeling I had when I was in high school, but it’s getting close,” Garland said.
UT Martin head football coach Jason Simpson was pleased with the scrimmage. “I liked the enthusiasm,” he said.
Simpson warned his team after the scrimmage, “Every team on our schedule has spring practice. We need to start making a difference now. We lost four games by 16 points and we have to focus on things that make a difference so that doesn’t happen this season.”
COURTESY: UT Martin Media Relations