Two Vols are A-A

Senior offensive tackle Arron Sears and junior wide receiver Robert Meachem became the 69th and 70th Volunteers to earn All-America honors Thursday when they were named to 2006 All-America squads by the American Football Coaches Association and Rivals.com, respectively.

Arron Sears was picked by the AFCA after finishing the year with 71 knockdown blocks and capping a streak of 31 consecutive starts. A Jacobs Award candidate for the Southeastern Conference's top blocker, Sears has missed just one start since his freshman campaign and has starting at every position on the line except center. The Russellville, Ala., native anchors an offensive line that has kept UT quarterbacks clean and allowed Tennessee to become second-most prolific passing team in the SEC.

Sears also was one of four Vols selected to three All-America teams by Rivals.com. Junior wide receiver Robert Meachem received first-team notice, while junior safety Jonathan Hefney and sophomore linebacker Jerod Mayo were second-team picks and Sears was a third-team selection.

Meachem set a Tennessee season record with 1,265 receiving yards on 67 catches thus far and just became the sixth Vols receiver to top the 2,000-yard career barrier. He hauled in 11 touchdown passes this year and topped 100 yards receiving in a game six times (seven career). A native of Tulsa, Okla., Meachem leads the SEC and is third nationally with a 105.4-yard per game receiving average.

Hefney has five interceptions in his last nine games to improve to third in the SEC and 19th nationally, and has nine interceptions for his career. His recent streak of interceptions in three straight games (Marshall, Memphis and Georgia) was a first for the Vols since 2002. Tennessee?s leading returning tackler from 2005 has taken over the team lead this year as well with 93 total hits, good enough sixth in the league. In addition, Hefney stands fourth in the SEC in punt returns with a 12.8-yard average.

Mayo was leading the Vols in tackles until a kneecap injury early in the Vanderbilt game sidelined him. In addition to 82 total stops, the Hampton, Va., defender has 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks - both team highs. He compiled double-digit tackle games this year against Air Force, Florida, Marshall, Alabama and LSU and was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against California.


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