Best of the decade: offense

Best of the decade: offense

Having concluded my position-by-position rankings of Tennessee's best players of the decade 2000-2009, here's my rating of the top 10 offensive players of the decade, regardless of position:

1. JASON WITTEN: If he had stuck around for his senior year, this 6-6, 260-pound tight end probably would've been a first-team All-American. A great receiver and dependable blocker, he has gone on to become one of the NFL's premier players at his position.

2. TRAVIS HENRY: Tennessee's career rushing leader (3,078 yards) has become an embarrassment with his off-the-field antics since he left UT but he was a durable and dynamic ball-carrier during his college days.

3. ROBERT MEACHEM: Hampered by injuries for three years, he blossomed as a junior and set a single-season record for receiving yards (1,298) that still stands. A deep threat with exceptional running ability after the catch, he jumped to the NFL rather than return for his senior season.

4. ARRON SEARS: Simply put, he was Tennessee's best blocker of the decade. Though built for guard, he was more than adequate playing tackle for the Big Orange.

5. CASEY CLAUSEN: He couldn't throw like Peyton Manning or run like Tee Martin but Clausen was a resourceful quarterback who ranks second to Manning in virtually every UT passing category. He went 34-10 as a Vol starter, including a mind-boggling 14-1 in road games.

6. CEDRICK WILSON: He wasn't the biggest, fastest or flashiest receiver but this feisty Memphis native caught just about everything thrown his way and wasn't shy about going over the middle. He ranks second on UT's career chart for receiving touchdowns (24), third for receptions (159) and fifth for receiving yards (2,137).

7. SCOTT WELLS: He set a Tennessee record by starting his final 49 consecutive games - the third-longest streak in NCAA history at the time. The 6-2, 295-pounder has gone on to enjoy a distinguished career as the starting center for the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

8. ERIK AINGE: He bounced back from a disastrous sophomore season to rank third behind Manning and Clausen on UT's career lists for passing yards (8,700) and passing touchdowns (72). Ainge also set a school record by completing 67.0 percent of his throws as a junior in 2006. Two fourth-quarter interceptions in UT's 2007 SEC Championship Game loss to LSU tarnished his legacy a bit.

9. DONTE STALLWORTH: Despite skipping his senior year and battling an assortment of injuries prior to that, he ranks 10th on UT's all-time list for receiving yards (1,747). Perhaps the Vols' best deep threat of the decade, Stallworth averaged a whopping 17.6 yards per catch for his career.

10. ARIAN FOSTER: He lacked blazing speed and eye-popping moves but he was Tennessee's most versatile tailback of the decade - adept at running, receiving and blocking. He ranks second on UT's all-time list for rushing yards (2,964) but also caught 83 career passes and did an exceptional job protecting Vol passers.

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