Medley makes it official: He's a Vol
After committing to the University of Tennessee last May, Marshall County High School senior kicker Aaron Medley officially became a UT football player on Wednesday morning when he signed a letter of intent in the MCHS auditorium to play for the Volunteers.
"I think after 250 something days it feels good to make it official and have everything come to an end. I'm starting a new chapter in my life," said Medley.
Rated as a three star prospect, Medley joins a heralded Top 5 class at Tennessee that is expected to help coach Butch Jones return the Volunteers to prominence. Under Jones, UT has made a concentrated effort to mine the local talent inside Tennessee and signed 10 different players that hail from the Volunteer state in this year's class.
"Anytime you can get the top recruits in your state and add top guys from out of state it's going to improve your team and improve your depth. I think UT fans are going to see a big change on the field in the Fall," said Medley.
Having grown up a Tennessee fan, Medley cited the chance to help rebuild UT's once proud program as one of his reasons for signing with the Volunteers, who have posted just one winning season over the past six years and accumulated just a 33-41 record during that span.
"Growing up a UT fan you understand the tradition and understand what putting on the orange and white means as opposed to someone from California who might not understand it until he is actually part of the team," said Medley. "I think the timing is right. Coach Jones is building a new foundation and I want to be a part of that. Being a fan too, I don't think anyone could pass up that opportunity."
Medley choose Tennessee over offers from Oklahoma and Texas A&M while also receiving interest from Notre Dame, Arkansas, and Ohio State.
With UT placekicker Michael Palardy having exhausted his eligibility at the end of the 2013 campaign, Medley has an excellent chance to see the field as a freshman.
"I see myself contributing as a freshman. My best chance right now is on kickoffs and field goals, but I don't know about punting yet. We have a preferred walk on in Troy Waites that is going to compete for the punting job too," said Medley.
A four-year starter for Marshall County, Medley has handled all of the kicking duties for the Tigers during that time and is a four-time All-District selection. For his career, Medley converted 111-of-121 extra point attempts, blasted 120-of-196 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, and made 20-of-32 field goals, highlighted by a 50-yarder against Spring Hill his junior season.
"Aaron has been born with a natural ability to kick, but he also works extremely hard," said MCHS kicking coach Tony Johnson. "It's not that the other kickers I've coached didn't work hard, but I've worked with Aaron for the last six years, while most of our other kickers were on the team for just one or two years."
Thanks to his kicking prowess, Medley has racked up a number of state and national honors over the last two years.
Following his junior season, Medley was selected to the Tennessean's All-Midstate Team before he was named to the Second Team Defense of MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American Football Team as a punter.
As a senior, Medley was named to the Class 4A All-State team as a punter and was one of three finalists for this season's Mr. Football Kicker of the Year Award. He also recently participated in the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game, which invited 90 of the top players in the country to compete in this year's event.
Having provided MCHS with a advantage in special teams the last four years, expect Medley to give Tennessee a leg up in the kicking game during his college career.