Ten Vols in all-star games

Ten Tennessee football players will be involved in postseason all-star action later this month. The Vols, fresh off a 10-3 season that saw them capture the SEC Eastern Division title, have seniors playing in five different showcase events.

The contests begin Jan. 15, with center Jason Respert participating in San Francisco's East-West Shrine Classic and tight end Victor McClure part of the Gridiron Classic at The Villages, Fla.

Respert, from Warner Robbins, Ga., served as a team captain and anchored Tennessee's offensive line. He started 11 games en route to All-SEC honorable mention honors from Associated Press. A Hixson native, McClure fought back from an early season injury to play a key role in the Vols' successful offensive season.

Two more classics take place Jan. 22 and five UT players are involved, including a repeat appearance by Respert.

Two of Tennessee's more versatile athletes, Corey Larkins and Derrick Tinsley, have been invited to the Las Vegas All-American Classic, while Respert, receiver Tony Brown and tailback Jabari Davis are slated for an appearance at the Hula Bowl on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Larkins, from Opelika, Ala., began the year at tailback and played as a third-down specialist in the secondary while also returning kickoffs for most of the season. Marietta, Ga., native Tinsley played wide receiver and had a key punt return in the win over Alabama before breaking his leg against Notre Dame.

Brown was the only Volunteer with a pass reception in every game, finishing with a touchdown catch in the SBC Cotton Bowl. The Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., native concluded his UT playing days with 94 catches for 1,241 yards. Davis, a Stone Mountain, Ga., product, capped his Tennessee playing days with an impressive 22 rushing touchdowns after leading the Vols in scoring his sophomore year -- the only non-kicker with that distinction in the last decade.

Finally, the Jan. 29 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., has invited four Vols -- linebacker Kevin Burnett, punter Dustin Colquitt, tailback Cedric Houston and offensive tackle Michael Munoz.

Burnett finished an All-America season with a career-high 120 tackles. Ninety of those stops were solos for the Carson, Calif., native to rank fourth in Division I-A. Colquitt, a Knoxville product, wrapped up his career as UT's No. 2 all-time punter with a 42.6-yard average that stands behind only his cousin, Jimmy, and just ahead of his father, Craig.

Houston eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his career this year and finished as the fifth-leading ball carrier in UT history. The Clarendon, Ark., native totaled 1,005 yards for the season and 2,634 for his career. Munoz capped a brilliant offensive line career by earning consensus All-America honors on the field and the Draddy Trophy from the National Football Foundation off it. The Mason, Ohio, product joined Respert, Brown and Burnett as team captains.


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