BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The No. 24/25-ranked Tennessee football team had four players named to the Preseason Coaches All-SEC teams as announced by the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Evan Berry collected second-team recognition as a return specialist, while senior offensive lineman Jashon Robertson, junior wide receiver Jauan Jennings and redshirt senior punter Trevor Daniel grabbed third team selections. All four players garnered 2017 Preseason Media Days All-SEC honors last month, as well.
Robertson, who has started 34 games during his time on Rocky Top, was also named by the Football Writers Association of America to the preseason watch list for the 2017 Outland Trophy. The Nashville native was a key part of a UT offensive line that paved the way to record-breaking offensive numbers in 2016. The Vols set program records in points scored (473) and touchdowns (63) last season and won their third consecutive bowl game by defeating Nebraska, 38-24, in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Robertson is one of the most versatile offensive linemen on the roster as he started 12 games in 2016 at left guard and worked at center for much of the spring. As a sophomore in 2015, Robertson helped the Vols rush for 2,908 yards, which was the second-most in UT history. He has been an anchor of Tennessee’s offensive line since his 2014 freshman year when he started all 13 games at right guard and earned Freshman All-SEC and ESPN True Freshman All-American honors.
Jennings is coming off a breakout 2016 sophomore campaign in which he set career highs with 40 receptions, 580 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns. He made two of the biggest catches of the 2016 season. In the Vols’ 38-28 comeback win against Florida on Sept. 24, Jennings caught three passes for 111 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown down the right sideline that gave the Vols the lead in the fourth quarter. He topped that the following week at Georgia on Oct. 1 when he outleaped several Bulldog defensive backs to catch Joshua Dobbs‘ 43-yard Hail Mary in the end zone to lift Tennessee to a 34-31 victory. He also completed a four-yard touchdown pass against Texas A&M on Oct. 8.
Berry was named an Athlon Preseason All-American earlier this preseason and was a 2016 Coaches Second Team All-SEC Selection after averaging 32.9 yards on 14 kick returns, including a 100-yard return for a touchdown at South Carolina on Oct. 29. In 2016, he also tallied 12 tackles and one tackle for loss. As a sophomore in 2015, he ranked first in the NCAA with a 38.3-yard kickoff return average and was named a First Team All-American by Walter Camp, Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. For his career, Berry has returned 49 kicks for 1,677 yards, a UT-record 34.2-yard average and four touchdowns. His 34.2-yard career kickoff return average is the best mark of any current player in the NCAA, regardless of division. Berry is also likely to break Tennessee’s all-time record for kickoff return yards this year as he enters the season just 177 yards shy of Willie Gault’s program record of 1,854.
On top of his Preseason All-SEC accolades, Daniel is also on the preseason watch list for the 2017 Ray Guy Award, awarded annually to the nation’s top punter. In 2016, Daniel posted a 44.6-yard average with 28 of his 70 punts inside the 20, 29 fair catches and 21 punts of 50 or more yards. His 44.6-yard average ranked third among SEC punters and his 70-yard punt against South Carolina was the longest in the SEC in 2016. Daniel was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award in both 2015 and 2016. Daniel’s 45.1-yard career punting average ranks fourth among active NCAA punters, regardless of division.
The Big Orange begin the 2017 season in less than two weeks with a showdown against ACC foe Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Labor Day (Sept. 4) at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will feature an 8 p.m. ET broadcast on ESPN.
The Vols’ home opener is slated for Sept. 9 against Indiana State, with kickoff set for 4 p.m.