Berry gets national honor

The awards keep coming for Tennessee's Eric Berry.

The electrifying freshman safety from Fairburn, Ga., was tabbed this week as the National Freshman Defensive Player of the Year by Richard Cirminiello of

Eric Berry started all 13 regular-season games for the Vols, ranking fourth in tackles with 83 and first in interceptions with five. He returned these interceptions for a school-record 222 yards (44.4 per) and also returned a fumble 52 yards.

Here's what Cirminiello has to say about the Vols' budding superstar:

"Eric Berry, Tennessee – There's no better defensive back than the safety that covers like a corner or the corner that sticks like a safety. Berry is just such a player. A gifted playmaker that's played both positions this season, he's on the brink of stardom after debuting in Knoxville with 83 tackles, a couple of fumble recoveries, and five picks for a school-record 222 yards."

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was tabbed National Freshman Offensive Player of the Year by

Berry is one of seven Southeastern Conference players to make Cirminiello's Freshman All-America first team. The others are Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, Florida guard Maurice Pouncey, Auburn offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, Florida cornerback Joe Haden and Florida safety Major Wright.

Five more SEC players earned second-team recognition – Georgia guard Clint Bolilng, Auburn tackle Ryan Pugh, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Georgia linebacker Ronnie Curran and Auburn punter Ryan Shoemaker.

Six SEC players were accorded third-team honors – South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, Georgia guard Chris David, South Carolina defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye, Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, Auburn safety Zac Etheridge and Auburn kicker Wes Byrum.

Tennessee redshirt freshman Daniel Lincoln, who made 21 of 28 field-goal tries and 49 of 50 PATs, was among seven league players accorded honorable-mention recognition. The others were Alabama running back Terry Grant, Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, Auburn offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey, Georgia defensive back Reshad Jones, LSU defensive back Chad Jones and Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada.

Georgia and Auburn had three offensive linemen each on Cirminiello's honor roll, suggesting the Bulldogs and Tigers are going to have outstanding blocking fronts the next few years.

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