Yes, three and a half decades before Peyton Manning, Tennessee football had its first award winner. To be fair, by this point, the Vols already had players finish second in the Heisman twice: Hank Lauricella in 1951 and Johnny Majors in 1956. Gene McEver would’ve won the Heisman in 1929, but it didn’t exist during that time.
Still, in 1964, Steve DeLong was the star. The Vols were in a transition phase. Doug Dickey was in his first year, and he had moved away from the single wing to install the slot T on offense. Rocky Top was having to move past the first half of the 20th century of football and the Robert Neyland era, and Dickey drug them kicking and screaming.
While that launched a 10-year run from 1965 to 1974 of all top 20 finishes, two SEC Championships and a retroactive national championship, 1964 was still about developing it. The Vols went 4-5-1 that year, and their one bright spot was DeLong on defense.
A future NFL linebacker, DeLong helped Tennessee football tie the No. 7 ranked LSU Tigers and beat the No. 7 ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in back to back weeks. As a result, he was awarded the Outland Trophy, and this and the Campbell Award are the only two that multiple Vols have won.