From scout team to starting middle linebacker Nick Reveiz is living proof of a true underdog story.
After redshirting in 2006 and staring on special teams during the two following seasons, Reveiz has finally climbed into a starting role as a Tennessee Volunteer.
"As a freshman I had no real hope, but I remember walking around the campus thinking, one day I am going to play here," said Reveiz on Tuesday afternoon.
The former Farragut Admiral waltzed onto Tennessee's campus with big dreams and three years later those dreams are coming true. After receiving 5-A All-State honors and being named a finalist for Mr. Football at the lineman position Reveiz said he felt led to the University of Tennessee.
"I feel a passion about this university. I have a passion about playing football here," said Reveiz.
Not only is Reveiz getting the start at middle linebacker, but his teammates beginning to recognize his leadership on the field as well.
"Nick knows the defense like the back of his hand. If he sees someone in the wrong spot he's going to get them in the right one," said true freshman safety Janzen Jackson after Monday's workout.Reveiz said its been a long road to starting linebacker but cited hard work as the main factor in getting on the field for the Volunteers.
"It's a journey, and its nothing smaller than that, its a full-on hard journey. That's why I always try to encourage the younger walk-ons and the younger guy because its something there's a lot of ups and downs. The biggest thing is you have to keep fighting, you got to keep pushing, you can't give up," said Reveiz.
The hard work is paying dividends in 2009. Reveiz is emerging as a power in the Tennessee defense. Reveiz currently ranks third in total tackles for the Volunteers with 19 over the first three games. Reveiz has set career highs with nine tackles against UCLA and two tackles for loss against rival Florida.
Not only is Reveiz getting the job done on the football field, he has also received Academic All-SEC honors in 2007 and 2008.
Reveiz's never give up attitude continues despite the Volunteers 1-2 record, "We're not thinking about another loss, we are thinking about winning out," said Reveiz during Tuesday's press conference.
Reveiz and the Volunteers will start that journey Saturday night with Ohio Bobcats in Neyland Stadium.