Jonathan Hefney was a four-year starter for Tennessee football and used on special teams as well. During his time, he was a reliable anchor for the secondary who did whatever was asked of him to win games for the Vols.
However, for some reason, Hefney does not get the love other safeties in UT history get. People will mention guys like Eric Berry and Deon Grant, but Hefney should be in that list. Sure, he wasn’t as glamorous of a star. But he was a big part of the team.
Part of Hefney’s problem was 2007. The Vols had to start fresh in the secondary, and Hefney was at free safety. He spent lots of time trying to cover for the mistakes of other players backed there, and it really made him the fall-guy.
But that’s why fans should love Hefney. He was the leader of that secondary and helped to bring the other guys along, including Berry. In fact, Berry likely does not have a breakout year as a freshman the way he did if Hefney doesn’t cover for the secondary the way he did.
Sure, he had no pro career, but Hefney had 10 career interceptions, including five in 2006. And don’t forget he had the defensive play of the year in that horrible 2005 season with that interception on Jamarcus Russell to change the game in Tennessee’s comeback against the LSU Tigers.
So Hefney belongs on this list and was a very good player for Tennessee football. As a team player, he deserves all the respect and love he can get.