Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Forrest graduate Matthew Delk (right) stands with his best friend and teammate Neyland Raper at Neyland Stadium at Knoxville. Photo submitted

Delk entering final chapter of storybook years with Vols

Forrest graduate Matthew Delk will continue to live out the dream of so many young Tennessee fans when he starts his senior year at UT and third season as a manager for the Volunteers football team.

"I've been a huge fan my whole life. I got the opportunity to meet two amazing people, Allen and Susan Vaughn," Delk said. "Through them, I met Roger Frazier, who is my boss now. 'Fraz' is the head equipment manager and known throughout the college football world and is also a Tennessee legend."

SEC title hopes

Delk, a senior geography major, has been around through some good and not-so-good times with the Vols, but the high expectations of the team this year give him a tough decision that Vol fans are surely jealous of.

"I graduate this December," Delk said, "but hopefully I'm walking across the 50-yard line in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship instead of the graduation stage."

Delk will be graduating inDecember with a degree in geography and a minor in history which he hopes will then put him in the position to follow in his father Scott's shoes and become a coach.

"My position as a equipment manager has helped me with learning the game of football in more detail and depth," Delk said. "It also looks great on a resume when it comes to getting into coaching football be high school or college. I'm fortunate to have been allowed to be a part of this football team."

Managing time

Anyone who has been to college knows how hard going to class can be. Add another 40-plus hours a week to help with the football team can take some major adjustment time.

"Football takes up around 40 or more hours a week," he said. "The part that most people forget is that we are full time students as well. So learning time management is key to juggling school, work and social life. I laugh about it now, but it took me while to grow accustomed to that lifestyle."

As any Vols fan could attest, just being a part of the team would be a dream come true, but there are a few memories that stick out above the rest for Delk.

" I have many memories during my time here at UT," he said, "But the two that stick out are beating South Carolina who was ranked in the top 10 at the time my first year at home and meeting my childhood hero Peyton Manning.

"Peyton is the type of guy who comes up to you and introduces himself. That's rare with those high-caliber guys, and goes to show why he's one of the Tennessee greats."

Forever a Rocket

Despite being four hours away at college and an integral part of one of the top college football teams in the country, the 2010 Forrest graduate never forgets his roots.

" I keep up with the Rockets. I'm an RFL (Rocket for Life)," Delk said. "I pay close attention to the middle school and high school programs. Coach Kriesky, coach Benne and (the) staff are doing an outstanding job. The future of Rocket football is in great hands. I'm excited to see how the season turns out, because "It's All About The F."