Lots of people forget about Tim McGee when they talk about Tennessee football being Wide Receiver U. But he was the only consistently reliable offensive player for the Vols throughout their 1985 SEC Championship run.
A team with lots of unheralded scrappers, McGee may have been the biggest weapon. We could have mentioned Chris White, who had nine interceptions on the year, but his only standout game was against the UCLA Bruins that year, which ended in a tie.
That tie, though, was a bittersweet game that was just part of McGee’s overall resumer on the year. McGee helped Tony Robinson and the Vols build a 26-10 lead behind five receptions for 142 yards. UCLA did come back to tie it with two touchdowns and two two-point conversions, but tying a Top 10 team in their season opener showed the Vols could be something special this year under Johnny Majors after over a decade out of the national spotlight.
The next game was against the No. 1 ranked Auburn Tigers, and McGee came through again. Robinson was the star with four touchdowns, but McGee caught six passes for 163 yards and a touchdown.
Then came the Sugar Bowl. McGee was instrumental in helping the Vols pull off one of their greatest bowl wins in school history, a 35-7 blowout of the Miami Hurricanes. McGee was key on the offensive side of the ball. Daryl Dickey only threw for 131 yards at quarterback, but 94 of those yards went to McGee on seven completions. He also had the touchdown to break the game open in an unconventional way: by recovering a fumble by the Vols’ offense in the end zone.
So McGee always came through in the big games when needed that year. And his playmaking was the key for Tennessee football’s magical run. It’s why we are able to put him on this list.