Three Vols earn SEC honors

KNOXVILLE, TN- Tennessee junior defensive end Derek Barnett has been named to the First Team All-Southeastern Conference Coaches Football Team and senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs and junior kick returner Evan Berry have garnered Second Team All-SEC honors, as announced by the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday.

Barnett earns All-SEC coaches honors for the third-consecutive season and this year’s accolade marks his first time as a First Team honoree. He is the first Vol defensive lineman to earn First Team All-SEC coaches honors since Robert Ayers in 2008. He is also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award and a Top 20 candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Barnett is enjoying the best season of his career and has secured his spot in history as one of the greatest defensive ends in Tennessee, SEC and NCAA football history. On Nov. 26, he recorded the 32nd sack of his career, tying the late great Reggie White for the most sacks in Tennessee history. On the season, he amassed 50 tackles, a career-high 12.0 sacks, 18.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups, one interception and 12 quarterback hurries. His 12.0 sacks are tied for the sixth-most in the nation and his 18.0 tackles for loss ranks 15th nationally. Barnett’s 32.0 career sacks are the second-most of all active NCAA FBS players and his 51.0 career tackles for loss are tied for the most.

Dobbs is just the fourth Tennessee quarterback all-time and the first since Tee Martin in 1999 to earn All-SEC coaches honors. Heath Shuler was All-SEC in 1993 and Peyton Manning was All-SEC in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Dobbs finished the regular season with 2,655 passing yards and an SEC-best 26 passing touchdowns. He also led the league in pass efficiency with a 152.6 rating. In conference games, Dobbs led the SEC with 24 total touchdowns accounted for, 17 passing touchdowns, 316.9 yards of offense per game, a 151.5 passer rating and 8.6 yards per attempt. Dobbs has also rushed for a UT-quarterback-record 713 yards and nine touchdowns on 139 carries and he owns the program’s all-time career rushing mark for quarterbacks at 2,042 yards. He heads into this month’s Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl with the third most yards of total offense by a single player in Tennessee history at 8,951. Dobbs also ranks fourth in UT history with 591 completions, fourth with 961 pass attempts, fifth with 6,847 passing yards and fifth with 52 passing touchdowns.

Berry earns All-SEC coaches honors for the second-straight year. In 2015, he became the first Vol to earn First Team return specialist honors. Berry played in nine games this season and returned 14 kickoffs for 460 yards and one touchdown. He leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation with a 32.9-yard kick return average. He had a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter against South Carolina, making him just one of two players in the league to return a kickoff for a touchdown. Berry’s 33.3 kickoff return average (12 returns for 400 yards and a touchdown) in SEC play was also the best mark in the conference. His 34.2 career kickoff return average is the best mark among all NCAA football players at all levels. He also made an impact on defense, starting three games at safety and finishing the year with 12 tackles and one tackle for a loss. On Nov. 7, head coach Butch Jones announced that Berry would miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

Ten of the 14 SEC schools placed a member on the first team, while 11 institutions had at least two total All-SEC selections.

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players. The SEC individual award winners will be released Wednesday and the All-Freshman Team will be announced Thursday.

Courtesy: University of Tennessee Athletics

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