Volunteers DT McDaniel will skip his senior season

Published: Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, sued this week for injuring a fellow student, will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft, coach Phillip Fulmer said.
A student McDaniel hit in the face during a pickup basketball game last year filed an $800,000 lawsuit Thursday for damages in Knox County Circuit Court.
McDaniel told Fulmer on Friday he had changed his mind about staying in school. Underclassmen have until today to declare for the draft.
"He didn't give a reason," Fulmer said Saturday. "I just wished him well."
Fulmer said he understood given "everything that was going on in his life."
McDaniel said on Wednesday he wanted to remain in school to repay Fulmer and defensive line coach Dan Brooks for standing up for him after he was arrested. He said without the coaches' support he's not sure he would have been allowed back into school.
McDaniel's attorney, Don Bosch, said he couldn't comment on his client's decision.
McDaniel was charged with aggravated assault, a felony, after the incident last January. A video of the basketball court on campus showed McDaniel punching Edward Goodrich in the face and walking away as Goodrich lay on the floor for several minutes.
  • ARKANSAS: Instead of transferring to Georgia Southern, quarterback Alex Mortensen has changed his mind and decided to continue playing at Arkansas, the player's father, Chris Mortensen and Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, said.
    On Jan. 6, Chris Mortensen said that his son would transfer to the NCAA Division I-AA Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., for next season. But on Thursday, Alex Mortensen had a meeting with Nutt and the coach said he could rejoin the Razorbacks.
    On Friday the player decided to switch back to Arkansas.
    "Coach Nutt was gracious enough to allow Alex back into the Razorback family," Chris Mortensen said. "Alex is very humbled by that act.
    Mortensen, a redshirt freshman, played in four games for the Razorbacks last season, coming off the bench in each of them.
    n CLEMSON: Defensive end Gaines Adams, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound junior, ended weeks of speculation about his future, forgoing the NFL draft to remain in college one more year.
    "I feel a whole lot better," Adams said. "I got this off of my chest and I'm just trying to move forward right now."
    Adams' size and quickness, along with his team-leading 9 sacks this season, had him projected by some Internet sites as a potential first-rounder next April.
    And Adams says that's what got him thinking about the pros - something that seemed remote after Clemson's 19-10 victory over Colorado at the Champs Sports Bowl when Adams declared he was 100 percent certain of coming back.
    "I was hearing all the good things and really not paying attention to the negative things," Adams said.
  • OHIO STATE: Strong safety Donte Whitner will skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft.
    Whitner becomes the third Buckeyes underclassman to make the jump to the pros. Cornerback Ashton Youboty and wide receiver Santonio Holmes have already said they were leaving Ohio State.
    Whitner, a junior from Cleveland, was third on the team in tackles with 73. He also four sacks, two interceptions and broke up six passes. With Whitner and Youboty leaving early, Ohio State must replace its entire starting linebackers and secondary next season.
  • SOUTHERN CAL: Guard Fred Matua became the third Trojans player to skip his senior season, when he entered the NFL draft.
    Matua, a junior, follows Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and running back LenDale White.
    "To leave a great school like USC is hard," Matua said. "Any time you do something like that, it's hard. But I prayed about it, thought about it, and the opportunity's there and I'm trying to savor that."
    Matua was an All-Pac-10 second-team pick last season. He said he entered the draft to help his family financially.
    During his high school years, Matua's mother battled breast cancer.
    "I thank coach (Jim) Tressel and all those involved within the football program for creating such a terrific environment to succeed both academically and athletically," Whitner said in a statement issued by his agent.
    "I now look forward to the challenge of playing against the premier players in the NFL."
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