Berry in Bednarik semis

Another day, another national award nomination for Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

The Vols' super sophomore saw his name added Wednesday to the list of 15 semifinalists for the 2008 Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's outstanding defensive player. Eric Berry was named to multiple mid-season All-America squads last month and Tuesday was selected a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award presented to the nation's top defensive back.

Berry snagged his major college-best sixth interception of the season in the third quarter Saturday at South Carolina and added a 45-yard return to it. The pick was the 11th of his career, tying him for 11th in school history in that category. The return gave him 442 career interception return yards, which extended his SEC record and moves him within 59 yards of the NCAA record held by Terrell Buckley of Florida State (501 yards).

He now has 220 interception return yards this season, a total just two yards shy of his own school-record total from 2007 and only 24 yards from the SEC season record set by Florida's Joe Brodsky in 1956. Southern California's Charles Phillips set the major college season record in 1974 with 302 interception return yards.

The Tennessee record for interceptions in a season is 10, but Berry is just one pick from tying for seventh on that list (7) and three picks from tying for second (9).

Berry is tied atop the Football Bowl Subdivision rankings this season with his six interceptions, but he is the only player with more than 200 return yards. Only seven players have more than 100 return yards and just one other player has more than 175 yards.

The announcement of the winners of the Thorpe and Bednarik awards will be made during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast Dec. 11 on ESPN. Three finalists for each award will be in attendance for the ESPN broadcast.

2008 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists ERIC BERRY, TENNESSEE, S, SOPH.; Terrence Cody, Alabama, NT, Jr.; Zack Follett, California, LB, Sr.; Jerry Hughes, Texas Christian, DE, Jr.; Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State, CB, Sr.; James Laurinaitis, Ohio State, LB, Sr.; Ray Maualuga, Southern California, LB, Sr.; Aaron Maybin, Penn State, DE, Soph.; Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma, DT, Soph.; Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh, LB, Sr.; Brian Orakpo, Texas, DE, Sr.; Myron Rolle, Florida State, S, Jr.; Brandon Spikes, Florida, LB, Jr.; Vance Walker, Georgia Tech, DT, Sr.; Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri, LB, Jr.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomes football fans and alumni to campus Saturday for Homecoming.

Kickoff for the Volunteers' game against Wyoming is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern time. Neyland Stadium gates open at 11 a.m.

The traditional Vol Walk from Gibbs Hall to the stadium starts at 10:45 a.m., and the Pride of the Southland Marching Band leaves the music building at 11:20 a.m. The band will be accompanied by the alumni band and bagpipers.

Homecoming will be celebrated across campus.

Party in the Park, a large tailgate, will be held in Circle Park starting at 9 a.m. Other tailgating events will be hosted by the Black Cultural Center, the College of Nursing, the College of Engineering and the College of Law.

Santana's El Nino, the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse, will circle the field before the game, and two F/A-18 Super Hornets are planned to fly over the stadium during the national anthem. The fighter jets are part of the VFA-11, Red Rippers, based at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

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