By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Dontavis Sapp remembers wondering if he'd ever get the opportunity to earn a meaningful role on Tennessee's defense.
Sapp, a senior linebacker, was primarily a special-teams performer his first three years at Tennessee under former coach Derek Dooley. He briefly considered quitting or transferring. Sapp recalls thinking "is football really for me."
Those doubts have vanished.
Sapp has emerged as one of the prize pupils of new coach Butch Jones, who calls him "1 of our leaders." After being named the team's most improved defensive player in spring practice, Sapp is atop the depth chart at weak-side linebacker. The Volunteers also plan to continue using Sapp as much as possible on special teams.
That's quite a bit of responsibility for a guy who has only two career starts.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.