Athlon names 5 Vols to preseason All-SEC Team

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 01, 2016 - defensive back Evan Berry #29 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Athlon Sports named five Tennessee football players to its preseason All-SEC teams Tuesday.

Senior Evan Berry hauled in first-team honors, leading the way for the Volunteers. Additionally, junior receiver Jauan Jennings and senior offensive lineman Jashon Robertson were picked for the third-team offense, junior linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. was named to the third-team defense. Redshirt senior punter Trevor Daniel was selected as a third-team specialist.

Despite being limited to nine games due to an injury, Berry will enter his senior campaign after being named to the 2016 All-SEC Coaches Second Team. His 32.9-yard kickoff return average ranked first in the SEC and he had a 100-yard return for a touchdown against South Carolina on October 29. He also posted 12 tackles and one tackle for loss. Berry’s 34.2-yard career kickoff return average ranks first in Tennessee history and his 1,677 career kickoff return yards are the third-most by a Vol.

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 01, 2016 – wide receiver Jauan Jennings #15 of the Tennessee Volunteers catches game winning touchdown during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

No one can forget Jennings “Hail Mary pass” to clinch Tennessee comeback win over Georgia. He had a breakout sophomore campaign, ranking second on the team with 40 receptions, 580 receiving yards, 14.5 yards per catch and seven receiving touchdowns.

Video: Tennessee beats Georgia on Josh Dobbs-to-Jauan Jennings Hail Mary

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 27, 2016 – offensive lineman Jashon Robertson #75 of the Tennessee Volunteers silhouette during bowl practice at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN. Photo By Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

Robertson is the Vols’ most experienced offensive lineman with 35 career starts. He started 13 games at left guard in 2016, helping anchor a Tennessee offensive line that paved the way for a school-record 473 points and 36.3 points per game (second-most in the SEC). Tennessee’s 5,768 yards of total offense were the second-most in program history.

Liinebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. leaves Battle at Bristol after second half injury

Kirkland, who was a 2015 SEC All-Freshman team pick, battled back from a high ankle sprain he suffered early in the 2016 season and played in eight games, making seven starts. He finished the year with 45 tackles (30 solo), 1.0 sack and 5.0 tackles for loss.

KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 10, 2015 – punter Trevor Daniel #93 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

In his second season as UT’s starting punter, Daniel posted a 44.6-yard average (third in the SEC) with 28 punts inside the 20, 29 fair catches and 21 punts of 50 or more yards. His 70-yard punt against South Carolina was the longest in the SEC in 2016. Daniel was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award last season.

Tennessee ranked 19 in Athlon Sports’ top 25 ranking.

More: View Athlon’s full 2017 Preseason All-SEC Team

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