Chavis chosen

Tennessee's John Chavis is one of the eight best defensive coordinators in college football. That's the word from Dennis Dodd of

Dodd has spent the past few weeks ranking the NCAA's top assistant coaches. No one from Tennessee's current staff showed up as he rated the tight end coaches, the wide receiver coaches, the quarterback coaches, the running back coaches, the offensive lin coaches, the defensive line coaches, the linebacker coaches or the secondary coaches.

The Vols finally broke through in Dodd's defensive coordinator rankings, however. In an article entitled "Getting defensive," Dodd tabs Ohio State's Jim Heacock No. 1 among Div. 1-A defensive coordinators, then lists Chavis among seven finalists.

Here's what Dodd has to say about the long-time Vol aide:

John Chavis, Tennessee: Regarded as one of the best linebacker coaches in the country, Chavis became defensive coordinator in 1995 and helped win a national championship three years later. UT has had 11 linebackers taken in the draft since 1999. One study found that Tennessee had the most former d-linemen on NFL rosters in 2007 with 11.

Also mentioned on Dodd's list of quality D-coordinators are Mickey Andrews of Florida State, Tom Bradley of Penn State, Bud Foster of Virginia Tech, Willie Martinez of Georgia, Will Muschamp of Texas and Brent Venables of Oklahoma.

Chavis, 51, was voted Assistant Coach of the Year for 2006 by the American Football Coaches Association. He is in his 30th year of coaching, 20th at Tennessee. His 2005 stop unit ranked second nationally in run defense, allowing just 82.5 rushing yards per game.

Chavis' official title on the UT staff is assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

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