Curt Maggitt earned the highest honors of the Vols, being named a Preseason First-Team All-SEC linebacker. The hybrid defensive end/linebacker collected 11 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 2014 during a breakout campaign coming off missing some of 2012 and all of 2013 with a serious knee injury.
Barnett and Sutton were both named to the Second Team, coming in lower than many Vol fans hoped and expected. Barnett, who recorded all 10 of his sacks in SEC play, is the third-leading returning player in the conference in terms of total sacks in 2014 behind only Maggitt and Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. Barnett was edged out by a First-Team defensive line that consists of Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson, Ole Miss’s Robert Nkemdiche, Garrett and Auburn’s Carl Lawson.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was named to the Third Team, behind Dak Prescott of MSU and Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson.
Nine total Vols were nominated, including the four who were selected and safety Brian Randolph, running back Jalen Hurd, guard Jashon Robertson, receiver Marquez North and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Perhaps the biggest complete snub was Hurd. Six total running backs were selected (two on each team). He was likely to finish behind the likes of Leonard Fournette, Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry and the Arkansas duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, though it was surprising to see Alabama’s Kenyan Drake, who has never rushed for more than 700 yards in a season during his career and is coming off a major injury, voted ahead of Hurd.