Derrick Brodus, 19, got an unexpected call from UT football coach Derek Dooley on Saturday that had him getting off his couch and suiting up for his SEC debut.
"My heart was definitely beating really fast. I honestly didn't know what to do, but I ended up going out there and stroking the ball like I'm supposed to," said Brodus after Saturday's victory against Middle Tennessee State University.
Brodus walked on the team last spring and was picked up as a kicker on the practice squad. By Saturday's game, the first and second string kickers weren't healthy, so Coach Dooley went down the depth chart to Brodus.
"He kicked that first one, and it was great. It was great. It went almost to the 10 yard line," said Harry Brodus, Derrick's dad.
Harry Brodus, and his wife Dorris, watched the game on TV from home as Derrick kicked three extra points and a field goal. Derrick called his mom before the game to give his family a heads up he would be playing.
"He just said, the cops are gonna come pick me up and we're gonna go to UT, and I said 'What,'" said Dorris Brodus.
Brodus was born in Guam, where his family lived until 2002 when they moved to Knoxville. Harry Brodus was in the military at the time, and got a job transfer back to the states.
Derrick played soccer from age four. By the time he got to Alcoa High School he was playing on a traveling team, and for the school. He also played kicker for the football team until the middle of his junior year. Harry Brodus said the football coach made him choose between football and soccer. Derrick chose his passion, soccer. Through his athletic career he was on several State Championship teams for both Alcoa's football and soccer teams.
His senior year, Derrick earned MVP honors, and several college scholarships.
"From Princeton, from Duke, from North Carolina, and out in California, Santa Barbara," said Harry Brodus.
Instead, Derrick had a change of heart about going to school and about continuing to play the sport that helped raised him.
"He's used to being athletic and doing something all the time. So, I think the thought of him not going to college to play soccer hit him, and so he said, 'I think I want to walk on at UT,'" said Harry Brodus.
Now, Derrick Brodus has etched his place in Vols football history as the soccer superstar who saved the day.
Broadus has family around the world, including in Hawaii and on Guam. His parents say all of them will be watching the Vols closely from now on.