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Vols defensive stars reflect on time with Tennessee football ahead of Senior Day

Theo Jackson spoke about how much he will miss the fans. Matthew Butler said he and his senior teammates have formed a bond that will last past football.
Credit: AP
Tennessee defensive back Theo Jackson plays against Pittsburgh during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football will have its Senior Day on Saturday when the Vols take on Vanderbilt inside Neyland Stadium.

Two team captains and defensive stars Theo Jackson and Matthew Butler spoke in length on Tuesday about their time with Tennessee football and the brotherhood they've formed.

They both agreed on what they'll miss.

"The crazy fans, man," Jackson said. When the defense is doing what we do man, the fans are going crazy, they have smiles on their faces, I love it, man."

Butler wants a sell-out to send off the seniors on Saturday.

"I know Vol nation is going to bring out 102,455 fans for this game and sell it out," he said. That would mean the world to me, that would mean the world to these seniors just having the place packed out for our last game in Neyland. We plan on putting on a show and winning the game."

The two have both given thought to run onto the field one last time at home, but they aren't satisfied just yet.

"I've enjoyed my time, but I also haven't done enough still," Jackson said. Running through the 'Power T' one last time is going to be a lot of fun, but it will also be a lot of emotions."

Butler is trying to not get too distracted and winning the game is his number one focus.

"Yeah I've thought about it, but I'm just trying to take it day by day because when it comes down to it, it will be great running through the 'Power T' one last time and then we mess around and don't play our best game it's not going to be great," he said.

The team became bowl eligible this past Saturday against South Alabama, so this won't be the seniors' last game.

As they reflect on this upcoming special moment though, they recognize how far they've come and how strong a bond they've built through Tennessee football.

"There is a sense of comradery that I think will last for the rest of our lives," Butler said.

Seniors will be honored before the game against Vanderbilt. The kickoff is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. and will be broadcasted on SEC Network.