Anthony Parker made the first team offensive line, while Jerod Mayo was among the top linebackers named and Jonathan Hefney a member of the first secondary unit. Second team representatives were linebacker Rico McCoy, punter Britton Colquitt, freshman defensive back Eric Berry and freshman placekicker Daniel Lincoln.
Hefney and Colquitt are repeat selections from one year ago, although Hefney was a second-team choice in 2006 and Colquitt earned first-team honors. McCoy was a member of last season’s Freshman All-SEC squad.
Parker continues to receive acclaim for his fine junior season. The junior guard was named last week by Rivals.com as a third-team All-America and first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. The Vols have allowed only four sacks in 13 games this season, averaging one sack every 122.8 pass attempts. The next closest teams in sacks allowed are Rutgers with nine and Arkansas 10.
Parker has experience all along the offensive front, having made 25 career starts. The Jonesboro, Ga., native’s versatility shows in the fact that his first career start came as a freshman center in a road win at LSU, followed by 12 starts in 2006 at right guard and all 12 starts this year at left guard.
Mayo was Tennessee’s defensive leader down the stretch and is the SEC’s leading tackler. The junior earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his 19-tackle effort Nov. 24 at Kentucky, one week after compiling a then-career high 15 tackles against Vanderbilt. He followed those numbers with a game-high 15 tackles in the SEC Championship Game against LSU, and the Hampton, Va., product leads all conference defenders with 127 total hits.
Hefney also had an outstanding performance in the Georgia Dome, finishing with 10 tackles and one pass breakup. Tennessee’s senior leader stands 15th among league tacklers with 88 and has performed brilliantly this season in guiding a gifted but young secondary toward its best football down the stretch.
One of those rookies was the freshman sensation Berry, who intercepted his fifth pass Saturday against LSU and already owns a school-record 222 interception return yards. That figure is second in league history and complements his 83 total tackles, best among SEC freshmen.
McCoy eclipsed the 100-tackle plateau Saturday and for the season has 106, good enough for sixth-best in the conference. The sophomore has 41/2 tackles for loss this season along with four pass breakups.
Colquitt was the consensus All-SEC punter one year ago and bounced back from an early-season injury to register a 41.5-yard punting average in 2007. He has a personal season-high 20 punts downed inside the 20-yard line against only four touchbacks this year, and his career punting average stands at 42.4 - fourth on the all-time UT charts.
Lincoln already has been named to the Rivals.com All-Freshman national second team and Sporting News All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman squads behind his 21-of-28 showing on field goals. He has game-winning kicks against South Carolina and Vanderbilt and added four field goals in the 12-point victory at Mississippi State.
Tennessee’s seven honorees trailed only LSU with 10 and Arkansas and Florida with eight apiece. The Vols’ three first-team selections were behind only LSU’s seven and four apiece from Alabama and Arkansas.