The No. 1 jersey and its significance?

#1

Freak

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#1
I was listening to local sports talk radio in the car the other a day (I can’t recall which show) and the hosts were talking about the jersey number ”1” as it relates to Tennessee football. Malachi Wideman will wear the number vacated this year by Marquez Calloway, and the discussion was about players ’earning‘ that number and the expectations that will be put on a freshman who chooses to wear it.

Mabye I’ve missed it, or I’ve been completely out of the loop on this all these years, but is there something particularly special about the number? Is the No. 1 jersey held in high regard? Is there an understood link between wearing the number and being ‘the best?’

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the list of 20 players who have worn the jersey in Tennessee’s history.


Ed McDougal (1972-74)
Joe Gasper (1976)
Robert Malone (1977-78)
Lee Jenkins (1980-82)
Darrell Jones (1984)
Andre Creamer (1985-86)
Phil Reich (1987)
Vince Moore (1988-90)
Ronald Davis (1991-94)
Leonard Little (1995-97)
Robert Loudermilk (1999)
Jason Witten (2000-02)
Jayson Swain (2003-06)
Brandon Warren (2008-10)
Michael Palardy (2010-13)
Paul Harris (2013)
Jalen Hurd (2014-16)
Kahlil McKenzie (2015)
Jonathan Kongbo (2016-17)
Marquez Callaway (2017-19)
 
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#5

sechamp2012

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#5
I assumed that a movie or a top team put an emphasis on single digit numbers, that resonated with players. Think I first heard the competition for single digit about the time Leonard Little wore #1. Think some coaches use it as a quasi competition.
Maybe a football movie from the 90's , i'm not a big movie goer, i've never watched Friday Night Light's and others that I cannot think of off top of my head.
 
#6

Freak

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#6
Interesting I article from 2016 about Notre Dame.

Speaking with WSTB, Irish coach Brian Kelly said he has come up with a merit-based point system that will allow players to go out an earn numbers 1 through 9 based on the work they do on and off the field during the week. Per Kelly, the idea came about when defensive linemen prospects began asking him if they could wear single digits while Kelly was on the recruiting trail.

"I go out on the road, and we're closing deals with guys to come to Notre Dame. And the first question is 'Can I get a No. 4, or No. 5, or No. 6?' And, of course, now there are defensive linemen asking for single-digit numbers," Kelly said. "It got to the point where I said 'what we're going to do is compete for single digits.'"

Kelly continued that numbers 1 through 9 will be up for grabs, but that No. 1 will specifically be held for the coaches to decide. Currently, no players on Notre Dame's roster have been assigned No. 1.
Everybody wants to be No. 1: Notre Dame to rotate single-digit jersey numbers
 
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#7

RDU VOL#14

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#7
I was listening to local sports talk radio in the car the other a day (I can’t recall which show) and the hosts were talking about the jersey number ”1” as it relates to Tennessee football. Malachi Wideman will wear the number vacated this year by Marquez Calloway, and the discussion was about players ’earning‘ that number and the expectations that will be put on a freshman who chooses to wear it.

Mabye I’ve missed it, or I’ve been completely out of the loop on this all these years, but is there something particularly special about the number? Is the No. 1 jersey held in high regard? Is there an understood link between wearing the number and being ‘the best?’

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the list of 20 players who have worn the jersey in Tennessee’s history.


Ed McDougal (1972-74)
Joe Gasper (1976)
Robert Malone (1977-78)
Lee Jenkins (1980-82)
Darrell Jones (1984)
Andre Creamer (1985-86)
Phil Reich (1987)
Vince Moore (1988-90)
Ronald Davis (1991-94)
Leonard Little (1995-97)
Robert Loudermilk (1999)
Jason Witten (2000-02)
Jayson Swain (2003-06)
Brandon Warren (2008-10)
Michael Palardy (2010-13)
Paul Harris (2013)
Jalen Hurd (2014-16)
Kahlil McKenzie (2015)
Jonathan Kongbo (2016-17)
Marquez Callaway (2017-19)
I’ve never noticed that receiving the #1 was something that was held in high regard. It’s kind of hard to think that it was when you have everyone from a kicker to lineman wearing the number. I would have no problem with us doing something similar to what LSU does with the #7 on defense, where you earn the right to wear a number. I think it could create a sense of pride in whatever position they chose to use it for.
 
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#9

njvols

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#9
I recall AJ Johnson wore #45, and was proud to do it because of Johnny Majors. I think that should be the prize jersey - particularly this season.
Which is why I think that we certainly need a ring of honor type thing, but other than players who die in combat, don't think we should retire any jerseys. Think about the folks who would line up to wear 16 or 92 as an honor...just like 45. Bama #12 is maybe the most recognized number ever, and don't think it's retired...but is honored.
 
#11

hightower52

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#11
If I remember right jayson Swain was talking about it a few years ago and said Michigan makes a big deal out of who has number 1 so he asked if he could and they said if Witten left early he could
 
#13
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#13
I seem to vaguely remember, was it Kiffin(?), that stripped Brandon Warren of the #1 jersey and made him practice in another number until he earned the #1 back...?
 
#15

ksgovols

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#15
I seem to vaguely remember, was it Kiffin(?), that stripped Brandon Warren of the #1 jersey and made him practice in another number until he earned the #1 back...?
Kiffin was the first coach to make a big deal out of the single digit numbers and I think was the one that started having them on both sides of the ball? It was a pretty big deal when Heath Shuler wore 21 as a qb. Prior to Fulmer, Majors had the tried and true system of numbers by position. I don't recall in the 70's thru 90's the single digits having all that much appeal other than Condredge Holloway's #7 and a few qb's wearing #5 and #6 there for awhile.
 
#16

peyton4heisman

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#16
I wore #1 in high school. I was a tight end/linebacker. And although I just picked it out of a pile of available numbers, there was a kind of a stigma associated with it. I definitely had some people call me out as being "egotistical" or feeling like I was "special."
And if I am 100% honest, the number did give me a bit of an ego. But I can honestly say wearing it sort of put pressure on me to prove that I "deserved" the designation.
 
#18

BigSteve09

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#18
If I remember right jayson Swain was talking about it a few years ago and said Michigan makes a big deal out of who has number 1 so he asked if he could and they said if Witten left early he could
I think 98 is Michigan's other special number

I'd love if we had some meaningful numbers that the best players tried to work for. 1 on either side, 92 or 98 for DL, 45 for the LBs, so on
 
#19

VolPack22

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#19
I feel like No. 1 is held in higher regard in basketball and hockey. Off the top of my head, Warren Moon is probably the best player in football to ever wear it with Cam Newton probably behind him. It’s not really a “go to” number for football in my eyes. As far as UT Football goes, Leonard Little, Jason Witten and Jayson Swain are probably the most memorable.
 
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#22
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#22
I’ve always thought the # 7 jersey was the most special because my favorite childhood player was Condredge Holloway. It’s even become my favorite number in general, thank you Artful Dodger.
Same. That's what we fought over when I was growing up. Plus, Clausen was my favorite Vol when I was young.

We need more #69s
 
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