Eight Tennessee football players have been named to Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-SEC teams, including first-team defensive selections A.J. Johnson and Daniel McCullers.
The Volunteers had four offensive linemen tabbed by Steele with center James Stone, guard Zach Fulton and tackle Antonio Richardson being named to the second team and tackle Ja’Wuan James earning third-team honors, where he was joined by safety Byron Moore. Linebacker Curt Maggitt rounded out the list of UT honorees as a fourth-team selection.
A 2012 All-SEC linebacker, Johnson finished his sophomore campaign fourth in the NCAA in tackles and tackles per game with 138 for 11.5 per game leading the SEC in tackles in his 12 starts. He was recently named to the 2013 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List.
In his first season at Rocky Top, McCullers made an instant impact on the Tennessee defensive line, starting seven games and accumulating 39 tackles, including 5.5 for negative yardage.
On the offensive line, Stone, Fulton, Richardson and James all return following a dominant year in which they all helped pave the way for a Vol offense that averaged 477.6 yards per game and allowed just seven sacks, the second fewest in the NCAA. Stone was named to the 2013 Rimington Trophy Watch List as one of the nation’s top centers last month.
A starter at safety in all 12 games for Tennessee last year, Moore finished second on the team with 86 tackles and tied for eighth in the NCAA with five interceptions. Maggitt, meanwhile, posted 30 tackles and a team-high tying 5.0 TFLs over nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
The Vols will open the 2013 campaign against Austin Peay on Aug. 31. To purchase season tickets, go to UTTix.com.