A familiar name has bombarded social media in the last few days as former Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton was quoted in a Chattanooga Times Free Press article as having “animosity” towards the Tennessee fanbase eight years after his playing days in the orange and white.
A native of Waynesville, North Carolina, Crompton was regarded as one of the nation’s top prospects in 2005. According to a combination of Rivals and 247, Crompton was ranked as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback and was just behind Mark Sanchez. He was a Parade All-American and was a star in the Army All-American game. When Crompton signed with Tennessee, many fans were filled with hope for the future as he would come in and compete against Erik Ainge.
Crompton somewhat exploded onto the scene in 2006 as a redshirt freshman. After Ainge suffered an injury against LSU, Crompton came in and threw two touchdowns, including a 54-yard bomb to eventual first-rounder Robert Meachem. He started the next week against Arkansas and threw for two more scores.
In Fulmer’s final year (2008), Crompton struggled heavily thanks to Dave Clawson’s apparently difficult offense. With Crompton under center, the Vols fell to teams like UCLA, South Carolina and……Wyoming……at home. Yikes. That’s when things went way down south for Crompton. When he’d go out on the field, the boo birds chirped loudly. When he’d turn the ball over, they’d get louder. Eventually, Crompton and his family started receiving death threats.
There were other similar verbal run-ins, some that escalated to the point of his family having to be protected from physical assault inside or near the stadium and more than one threat against Jonathan’s safety. All of which created a wound that Crompton admitted still hasn’t completely healed.
I've talked with Crompton multiple times on/off air. What he said about his experiences at UT isn't wrong. He did everything right
— Andrew Darago (@AWDarago) June 12, 2017
Sucks 2 be treated like that but he should have thicker skin & should be over it by now. Thats the minority of fans tho, our fans are great! https://t.co/ME47U2LhBf
— Erik Ainge (@ErikAinge3) June 12, 2017
It seems maybe Crompton is right. It looked like the majority of tweets about him were positive and wished those things didn’t happen to him. Yet, some still voiced their displeasure in Crompton’s career at UT. However, like Crompton mentions in the article, it was a minority of the fans. Even Lane Kiffin chimed in on the story…kind of:
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) June 12, 2017
Kiffin tweeted out the article but at the very end, he used the hashtag #timetoletitgoJC. What exactly does this mean? Who knows. The way I take it, though, is that it looked like Kiffin and Crompton had a good relationship and it seems that Kiffin may be telling him to just simply let it go for his own sake. In the article, Crompton even mentions that he would “run through a wall” for Kiffin and rightfully so.
In 2009, Kiffin arrived to Knoxville and a majority of the fanbase felt alive again. He was young, vibrant and showed he could coach offense. Crompton continued to struggle for half the season, but then when the Georgia Bulldogs came to town, everything changed. Crompton went from doom and gloom to looking like a Heisman contender out of nowhere. He threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns against the Bulldogs to push the Vols to a 45-19 win. For the rest of the season, Crompton performed out of his mind and ended up marking his name in the UT record books, finally proving his high school rankings. He was one attempt away from breaking the all-time consecutive completion record. Somehow, Kiffin was able to turn the light switch on.
After his senior year, the Chargers selected Crompton in the fifth round and would end up playing in both the NFL and CFL until this year. He is now back in Waynesville and runs a real estate company.
If you are upset over Crompton’s comments, then you need to reevaluate. I don’t think you can blame him for still having some negative feelings towards part of the fanbase after him and his family received numerous death threats. That’s just uncalled for and frankly, I’d probably feel the same way. The thing is though, Crompton is wanting to repair that relationship and still holds the university in his heart. Don’t fall for the senseless clickbait headlines.
Thank you! I love the 98% of the TRUE fans that are there no matter what!
— Jonathan Crompton (@jcromp8) June 12, 2017