A native of Fairburn, Ga., Eric Berry chose to be in Atlanta tomorrow to accept the Vince Dooley Award as the top defensive back in the Southeast. The award will be presented by The Touchdown Club of Atlanta in an 8 p.m. ceremony at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts.
While there, Berry will be presenting The Touchdown Club's Bobby Dodd Award to the national high school back of the year, an award he won as a senior at Creekside High School in 2006.
The Touchdown Club of Atlanta dates to 1938, when it began sponsoring a Southeast Player of the Year Award. It later branched out by giving a Back and Player of the Year Award, then branched out further by giving Offensive Back and Defensive Back, Offensive Lineman and Defensive Lineman of the Year Awards.
Berry also is due to receive the Jack Tatum Award Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The award, named for the former Ohio State and NFL standout, is given annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus to college football's premier defensive back. Berry is the first Vol ever to achieve this honor.
Because Berry will be in Atlanta, Tennessee Assistant Athletics Director Condredge Holloway will travel to Columbus and accept the award on his behalf.
Berry has started all 26 games since he arrived on the UT campus. He was a consensus Freshman All-America in 2007. He led the NCAA with seven interceptions in 2008 and registered a Southeastern Conference-record 265 interception return yards.
With two years of collegiate eligibility remaining, he has 487 career interception return yards, good for another SEC record.