Best of the decade: Guards

Best of the decade: Guards

This is the seventh in a series of articles ranking Tennessee's best players of the decade 2000-2009. Today's focus: Guards.

1. FRED WEARY: A converted defensive tackle, Weary brought a hardnosed "defensive mentality" to the offensive line. The 6-4, 305-pounder started at left guard in 1999, then moved to center in 2000 only to suffer a season-ending knee injury in Game 2. Returning to left guard in 2001, he was voted a team captain and played so well that he earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference recognition.

2. ANTHONY HERRERA: After starting as a freshman in 2000, he lost his first-team job in 2001, then reclaimed it in 2002 and 2003. The rugged 6-2, 300-pounder from Trinidad started at left guard in 2000 and 2003, at right guard in 2002.

3. ANTHONY PARKER: He sandwiched two seasons as the starting right guard (2006 and 2008) around a season as the starting left guard. A massive 6-2, 310-pounder, he excelled as a run blocker and earned All-SEC recognition as a junior in 2007.

4. ROB SMITH: Tough and combative, he appeared headed for great things after starting at left guard in 2004 and 2005. The 6-4, 305-pounder bypassed his senior year, however, after Jimmy Ray Stephens was fired as offensive line coach. Smith's pro career went nowhere, making his hasty departure from UT a colossal mistake.

5A. CODY DOUGLAS: Solidly entrenched as the starting right guard in 2003, 2004 and 2005, this tough Texan was a handful when fit and healthy. Unfortunately for Tennessee, he arrived on campus with weight issues and was nicked up a lot during his Volunteer career, missing four games as a junior in 2004 and coming off the bench in three others. The 6-4, 330-pounder bounced back, however, and was voted a team captain as a senior.

5B. JACQUES McCLENDON: He started 12 consecutive games from the middle of 2007 to the middle of 2008, then lost his first-team status for the rest of '08. The 6-3, 324-pounder rebounded to start every game in 2009 at right guard, using his imposing strength (a program-record 645-pound bench press) to considerable advantage on run plays.

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