Homegrown hogs

The fact that recent commitment Kyler Kerbyson hails from Knoxville doesn't ensure he'll be a quality offensive lineman at Tennessee ... but it's a good omen.

The Volunteers have enjoyed considerable success with homegrown blockers the past three decades.

Probably the greatest offensive line in Big Orange history was the 1985 group that helped Tennessee win the SEC title and trounce Miami in the Sugar Bowl en route to a No. 4 national ranking. That group featured four in-state starters - Daryle Smith (Knoxville), Harry Galbreath (Clarksville), John Bruhin (Knoxville) and Bruce Wilkerson (Philadelphia) - along with center Todd Kirk of Pennington Gap, Va. David Douglas (Spring City) would've been a full-time starter that year except for injury problems.

How good was that line? Wilkerson went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL, Galbreath 10, Smith six, Douglas five and Bruhin four. Galbreath was tabbed All-SEC and All-America as a senior. Wilkerson was a two-time all-conference pick.

Another spectacular O-line was the 1993 group that helped Tennessee average 42.8 points and 479.5 yards per game, school records that still stand 17 years later. That front also featured four homegrown starters - Jason Layman (Sevierville), Kevin Mays (Kingston), Bubba Miller (Franklin) and Jeff Smith (Milan) - along with Leslie Ratliffe of Newport, Ark. Smith wound up earning All-SEC recognition twice during his time on The Hill; Layman, Mays and Miller once each.

All told, 10 homegrown offensive linemen have earned All-SEC recognition over the past 30 years. An even dozen have served as team captains and 14 have gone on to play in the NFL.

Here's an in-depth recap:

- Tim Irwin (Knoxville) started at right tackle in 1979 and '80, earning All-SEC honors as a senior. He went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL.

- John Matthews (Memphis) started at right tackle in 1981 and '82.

- Raleigh McKenzie (Knoxville) started at center in 1984, then went on to play 15 seasons in the NFL.

- Douglas (Spring City) started at left tackle in 1984, missed most of '85 due to injuries but still went on to play five years in the NFL.

- Wilkerson (Philadelphia) started at right guard in 1984, at right tackle in 1985 and '86. A two-time All-SEC pick, he was voted a team captain as a senior, then spent 12 years in the NFL.

- Daryle Smith (Knoxville) started at left tackle in 1985 and '86, then went on to play six years in the NFL.

- Galbreath (Clarksville) started at left guard in 1984, '85 and '86. Voted a team captain, all-conference and All-America as a senior, he also won the Jacobs Trophy as the SEC's best blocker. He went on to spend a decade in the NFL.

- Bruhin (Knoxville) started at right guard in 1985, '86 and '87, then spent four seasons in the NFL.

- Eric Still (Germantown) started at right tackle in 1987, at right guard in '88 and '89. He was All-SEC as a junior and senior, a team captain as a senior and the Jacobs Trophy recipient as a senior.

- Ray Robinson (Woodbury) started at center in 1988.

- Phil Stuart (Johnson City) started at right tackle in 1988.

- Charles McRae (Clinton) started at left tackle in 1989 and '90, earning All-SEC honors as a senior. A first-round pick in the '91 NFL Draft, he went on to play six seasons in the pros.

- John Fisher (Milan) started at center in 1989, 1990 and '91, serving as a team captain his senior season.

- Doug Baird (Waverly) started at right guard in 1990.

- Patrick Lenoir (Germantown) started at right tackle in 1991.

- Brian Spivey (Jefferson City) started at center in 1992.

- Miller (Franklin) started at left guard in 1992, at center in '93, at right guard in '94 and '95. Voted a team captain and an All-SEC performer as a senior, he went on to spend seven years in the NFL.

- Jeff Smith (Decatur) started at right guard in 1992 and '93, at center in '94 and '95. He was All-SEC as a senior and went on to spend six years in the NFL.

- Mays (Kingston) started at left guard in 1993 and '94, being voted a team captain and an all-conference player as a senior. His NFL hopes were destroyed by a devastating ACL injury.

- Layman (Sevierville) started at left tackle in 1993, '94 and '95. Chosen a team captain and an All-SEC selection as a senior, he went on to play seven seasons in the NFL.

- Trey Teague (Jackson) started at left tackle in 1996 and at center in '97. He went on to play nine years in the NFL.

- Chad Clifton (Martin) started at right tackle in 1996, at left tackle in 1997, '98 and '99. Voted a team captain as a senior, he is soon to begin his 11th year as a starting tackle for the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

- Spencer Riley (New Market) started at left guard in 1997, at center in '98 and '99. He was a team captain as a senior.

- Scott Wells (Spring Hill) started at center in 2000, '01, '02 and '03. Chosen a team captain and an All-SEC performer as a senior, he continues to enjoy a distinguished career in the NFL.

- Toby Champion (Humboldt) started at right guard in 2000.

- Will Ofenheusle (Martin) started at right tackle in 2001 and 2002. He was a team captain as a senior.

- David Ligon (Germantown) started at center in 2005 and at left guard in 2006.

- Ramon Foster (Henning) started at right tackle in 2007 and 2008. He was a team captain as a senior.

- Jacques McClendon (Chattanooga) started at right guard the first half of 2008 and all of 2009. He is considered a lock to make the Indianapolis Colts' roster this season.

- Twins Cody and Cory Sullins (Cottontown) started at center and left guard, respectively, in 2009.

- Aaron Douglas (Maryville) started at right tackle in 2009.


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