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.
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.
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.
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.
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.