Head football coach Phillip Fulmer confirmed this morning that freshman
defensive end Jonathan "J.T." Mapu will play for the Vols in the fall,
postponing his Mormon mission until January of 2004.
Speaking by phone on a radio talk show hosted by former Vol aide Doug
Mathews and Bob Bell, Fulmer cited financial considerations as the reason
for Mapu's decision. His parents already have one child serving a Mormon
mission, which involves a monthly stipend. By waiting until January of 2004 for Jonathan to begin his
mission, the Mapus will avoid having two children on mission at the same
J.T. Mapu, a 6-3, 265-pounder from Kahuku, Hawaii, played in all 12 of UT's
regular-season games as a true freshman last fall, recording four tackles
and five assists. His return will bolster a position which must replace 2002
starters Demetrin Veal and Omari Hand.
UT now features veteran ends Constantin Ritzmann, Karlton Neal, Parys
Haralson, Mapu and Jason Hall. Incoming freshmen Turk McBride and Tony
McDaniel also will compete for playing time at end.
On the same show, Fulmer said he hopes to fill the staff vacancy created by
Mike Barry's recent departure within the next two weeks. The Vol coach
expressed confidence that Jimmy Ray Stephens can handle the entire offensive
line, subsequently hinting that he's looking for a tight ends coach or
assistant line coach who is a quality recruiter. Ideally, Fulmer said he
would like to hire someone with recruiting contacts in the Northeast.