A 'Lott' to like

The good news is that Tennessee's Justin Harrell is one of 42 players on the preseason watch list for the Lott Award, one of the premier honors in college football. The BETTER news is that Harrell is so focused on spring practice that he didn't even know he'd been nominated.

"It's a surprise to me because this is the first time I've heard that," he said this week. "It's always good to get recognition like that, but all that is hype. I've just got to go out and prove it on the field and show people what I can do."

Harrell proved an awful lot in 2005, recording 39 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5 pass deflections, 7.5 tackles for loss, 9 quarterback hurries and 14.5 total big plays. He even intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown. Coming off that spectacular campaign, the 6-5, 300-pound rising senior is in line for a lot of preseason recognition in 2006. Clearly, he is the bell cow of the Vol defense.

"Justin is a really good football player," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "He's the only guy on the defense that has played a considerable amount of football for us. Turk (McBride) would be the other one, I guess, and Marvin Mitchell a little bit.

"I'm proud for him but he understands it's a preseason honor. You're just on a list. Now what you do about it – how you play – is what's important. I'm sure he'd trade 12 or 13 or 14 wins for any honor that's out there. That's the attitude I want our football team to have right now."

Informed that Harrell didn't even know he'd been nominated for the Lott Award, Fulmer nodded.

"That's all it is, a nomination," the head man said. "I hope individually we can get lots of awards but the focus of our football team right now is our team."

It appears Justin Harrell's focus has been right there all along.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories