Sears on Outland list

If Arron Sears can live up to his preseason accolades, Tennessee's offensive line should be much improved this fall. Already tabbed a preseason All-American by Playboy magazine, he now has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2006 Outland Trophy.

Arron Sears is one of 54 players nominated for the Outland, which has been awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America since 1946. Tennessee middle guard Steve DeLong won it in 1964 and defensive tackle John Henderson claimed it in 2000. Only centers, guards and tackles are eligible.

Sears, a 6-4, 320-pound senior from Russellville, Ala., started all 11 games last fall. Showing remarkable versatility, he played both guard spots and both tackle spots. He was tabbed Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week after helping the Vols pile up 172 rushing yards and 378 total yards in a 27-10 defeat of Ole Miss.

Sears has played in 31 games since he arrived at Tennessee, starting 24. He started one game as a true freshman in 2003, then started 12 of 13 in 2004. He was tabbed All-SEC by league coaches and by the Associated Press following the 2005 season.

The announcement of the 2006 Outland Trophy winner will be made Dec. 7 in Orlando, as part of the ESPN College Football Awards Show. The actual trophy presentation banquet will be held Jan. 11, 2007 in Omaha.

Sears is bidding to become the first offensive lineman in UT history to win the Outland. Both DeLong and Henderson were defensive linemen.

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