Tennessee football: 10 greatest seasons by Vols who didn’t earn All-American honors

Photo by Vincent Laforet /Allsport
Photo by Vincent Laforet /Allsport /
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Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport
Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport /

We go from one former Tennessee football assistant who played for the Vols to another. The year after Jay Graham set the single season rushing record, the Vols had a bit of a disappointing 1996 season. They started the year ranked No. 2 after an 11-1 1995 campaign but lost to the Florida Gators again and were upset by the Memphis Tigers en route to a 10-2 record.

Graham, Peyton Manning and the offense as a whole all had a major drop-off due to attrition on the offensive line. It was a different story, however, on defense, and Terry Fair was the star. However, Fair is on this list for his special teams play.

For the year, Fair had over 400 punt return yards, a UT record that still stands, and he had two punt return touchdowns. Sure, Evan Berry and Cameron Sutton had impressive 2015 campaigns in the return game, but they both achieved All-American honors as a result.

Fair, however, got nothing. Combining those impressive return stats with four interceptions, which he returned for 94 yards, made him a deadly weapon in picking up yards without playing offense. And it’s more than enough to put him on this list. Like Graham to Manning, Fair had to play in the shadow of Leonard Little. But he was as much of a star.