These Vols could be All-SEC

Only four Tennessee football players were named to the coaches' preseason All-SEC first- or second-team. Just four. SEC coaches selected Arron Sears, Justin Harrell, Jonathan Hefney and Arian Foster. Heck, Kentucky had more than that.

The SEC media picked James Wilhoit, Sears, Harrell, Hefney and Foster on the first or second team.

When you go 5-6, you can't expect to dominate a preseason all-conference team. But you can expect to have more players than Kentucky. And you can expect to get a little more respect.

So, which Vols were snubbed? Good question.

My answer: No one. But there are a number of Tennessee players that could earn there way onto the coaches' or media All-SEC first or second team.

Here are the 10 most likely candidates:

Tight end Chris Brown. A junior, Brown is an excellent route runner for a tight end and has good hands. He gained 20 pounds last year to improve his blocking, but he didn't carry the weight well and plans to play at 235 this season. He caught 14 passes last season and could catch over 30 this season.

Punter Britton Colquitt. Colquitt has a better leg than older brother Dustin Colquitt, who improved his punting average from 39.6 yards as a freshman to 43.6 as a sophomore. Britton could hike is 41.2 average to about 44.0 this season. He averaged 46.7 yards against Vanderbilt and 44.2 against Kentucky.

Cornerback Inky Johnson. Although slight of build (5-9, 180), Johnson is a tough tackler and has great cover skills. The junior has made six career starts and doesn't have an interception yet, but secondary coach Larry Slade said Vol quarterbacks don't like throwing in his direction during scrimmages.

Receiver Robert Meachem. A junior, Meachem has led the Vols in receiving yards each of the past two seasons, but he still hasn't lived up to his vast potential. He needs to be more consistent and intense. He also needs to make more big plays. The gifted junior is capable of a 50-catch season.

Defensive lineman Turk McBride. McBride could play end or tackle. Defensive coordinator John Chavis said if McBride played tackle, he and Harrell would be the best tackle tandem in the SEC. McBride, a 275-pound senior, has made four career starts and has just 5.5 career sacks, but he can be a difference maker.

Linebacker Rico McCoy. A redshirt freshman, McCoy is an explosive, hard-hitting player who is always around the football. He should rank high on the team in tackles. He's blessed with tremendous speed. He redshirted last season after suffering an injury.

Linebacker Marvin Mitchell. Mitchell, a fifth-year senior who has been injury prone, could lead the team in tackles from his inside position. He's made two career starts and he's got just 50 career tackles. But he's got a chance to put up big numbers if he stays healthy.

Free safety Demetrice Morley. A sophomore, Morley is the best athlete on the team, and he could be the biggest impact player on defense. With his versatility, he could split time between safety and cornerback. He could also return punts or kickoffs and play receiver. Don't be surprised if he leads UT in interceptions. He had 15 tackles and one interception as a true freshman.

Receiver Jayson Swain. A senior, Swain was UT's best receiver in the spring before being sidelined with a knee injury. He displayed leadership during the offseason and he's ready for a break-out season. He has the most career catches – 77 – of any UT receiver, but he's never caught more than 29 passes in a given year.

Cornerback Jonathan Wade. A senior track sprinter, Wade made tremendous strides the second half of last season, and it carried over to spring practice. He's a potential lock-down corner who has become much more physical since his arrival as a two-way player. He has two career interceptions.


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