Tennessee had a total of zero players selected to an All-SEC team. As bad as that is, it won’t be the case at the end of the season.
Coming off the worst season in the history of the football program, offensive linemen Trey Smith was the Vols lone selection on the All-SEC teams. Smith was selected as a first-teamer in 2018 thanks to a standout freshman season.
This year the Vols didn’t have a single player selected for an All-SEC team on offense or defense. Wide receiver, Marquez Callaway was selected to the Second-Team All-SEC special teams as a return specialist. But, again, not a single player for offense or defense.
We can begin with the 6-foot-2 wide receiver himself. Callaway is heading into his senior season on Rocky Top and should continue to show improvement. From his sophomore to junior season, Callaway accounted for 186 more receiving yards on 13 more receptions.
With Jim Chaney handling things on offense and Jarrett Guarantano improving day by day, don’t be surprised if Callaway has a big year. I’m not suggesting he will put up first-team numbers. Last I checked Alabama’s offense is going to be great again. But, he might a big conference surprise by the end of the season.
Another player that will make an All-SEC at the end of the season is sophomore defensive back, Bryce Thompson. Thompson played 12 games at defensive back last season and finished with 34 tackles, four tackles for loss, and three interceptions.
Last season the Football Writers Association of America named Thompson to their Freshman All-American team. In recent years, guys like Trey Smith and Derek Barnett made the team in their freshman seasons.
Thompson could take a bigger step this season by returning punts for the Vols. If he can put up big numbers in the return game while locking down half of the field on defense, look for Thompson to be All-SEC First-Team.
Other players that could make an All-SEC impact include Alontae Taylor, Josh Palmer Ty Chandler, Jarrett Guarantano, Jauan Jennings, Darrell Taylor, and Daniel Bituli.
People are sleeping on Tennessee in Jeremy Pruitt’s second season. The additions of coaches like Chaney, Tee Martin, and Derrick Ansley should help propel the Vols to better showings on Saturdays.