While only two safeties play on the field at once, the Vols feel like they have three starters at that position.
Nigel Warrior and Todd Kelly Junior’s fathers played together at Tennessee and were first round NFL Draft picks.
Then there’s Micah Abernathy, an Atlanta native.
I-20 running through the heart of the city bears his family’s name.
“To me, to be an Abernathy means, it comes with a lot obviously," Micah said.
Micah’s grandfather, Ralph David Abernathy Sr. was a Civil Rights leader and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“It’s just a blessing everyday to have this last name,” Micah said.
“Being a guy from Atlanta, Georgia myself, I grew up with the history of his family as a kid growing up and now to have a chance to coach Micah is pretty fabulous," said Charlton Warren, Tennessee defensive backs coach.
"He’s very cerebral, very poised, tremendous leadership capability. He’s not a guy that’s going to get up there and yell but when he says something everybody listens.”
His grandfather died before Micah was born but his grandmother told him plenty of stories.
“One of the stories that I’ve always held closely was a story she told me when they were living in Alabama and their house was bombed," said Abernathy. "The bomb was placed near my aunt’s room but neither of them were scarred or anything, they came out safe so I just think that was an event by God.”
After his football career is over, Abernathy wants to continue his family’s legacy of service.
“I would say I’ll just help the community in Atlanta, specifically the homeless population. That’s where I grew up, that’s where my family comes from, that’s where we are currently. It means a lot to me to represent the city,” Abernathy said.
Micah’s father Ralph David III died last March. Micah says he still thinks about him every day, every hour. I’m sure he’ll be on his mind tonight at his takes the field in his hometown.