"I'm going to declare for the NFL Draft this year, I want to thank everybody for my time here at the University of Tennessee."

That's how Vols' defensive lineman Charles Folger opened his first ever media session.

"I've been waiting five years to say that guys, you have no idea how excited I am," Folger said.

A little humor from a redshirt senior who has made three career tackles.

Folger was a walk-on for four seasons until he earned a scholarship in August.

For a walk-on, the on-field opportunities are limited, to say the least, but that doesn't make senior day any less special for those guys.

"My dad won't like this but I'm going to cry like a baby," Folger said of the senior day ceremony. "It's going to be so emotional seeing my family, my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister down on the field. The five of us being together one last time before we all get going. Come on now guys, I'm going to get all emotional up here."

Walk-ons and "non-travel guys," don't get the glory on the big stage of Neyland Stadium. The work they put it comes to fruition in smaller moments.

"Some guys will never get the opportunity to play. Some guys fight five, six, seven days a week for the Vol Walk, to do it six times a year," Folger said. "They fight and scratch 351 days for five, six opportunities to walk in front of fans. To walk down the street."

Folger spoke of the bond between the "non-travel guys," players who never show up on the depth chart and don't travel with the team to road games.

"They're family, some guys will be in my wedding," Folger said. "All of them will get an invitation to my wedding because we've become so close as a family. It's been nothing but so much fun being a part of such a good group of guys."

The next step for Folger is to become a teacher and a coach. He has a bachelor's degree in special education and is taking graduate classes in deaf education and volunteers at Tennessee School for the Deaf.

"I want to influence young men and help them be better than I was because as a coach, a father, a mentor you want whoever you're talking to, to be better than you," Folger said. "If you're not bettering others, how is the world being bettered?"


Folger is one of a few guys remaining on Tennessee's roster that played for Derek Dooley and the previous coaching staff. When asked about that experience, Folger reenacted Dooley's infamous press conference where he compared the Vols to the Germans in World War II during the American invasion of Normandy. See it in the video above.