The 2018 season may not have gone well for Tennessee as a team, but there were some individual players who stood out for the Vols this season. And one of those players ended up being voted to a Freshman All-American team.
Walk-on punter Joe Doyle was voted to the USA Today Freshman All-American team on Thursday, becoming the seventh Vol over the last six years to be voted to a Freshman All-American team. He joins Trey Smith (2017), Chance Hall (2015), Jashon Robertson (2014), Derek Barnett (2014), Evan Berry (2014), Cam Sutton (2013), and Marquez North (2013) as Vols to earn Freshman All-American honors over the last six seasons.
As a redshirt freshman this year, Doyle led the SEC in total punt yards with 2,673. He finished tied for second in the SEC in punts downed inside the 20, with 23 of his 65 punts being downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Doyle averaged 41.1 yards per punt and had 12 punts go for 50 or more yards. Tennessee’s return teams benefited from Doyle’s excellent punting, as the Vols as a team only allowed eight total punt returns all season, and those returns gained just 15 yards total.
Doyle was also named to the final candidate list for the Ray Guy Award, the annual award given to the nation’s top punter in college football.
Tennessee had several freshmen play key roles this year, but Doyle was the only one to earn a Freshman All-American selection. Notably, freshmen cornerbacks Bryce Thopmson and Alontae Taylor did not make USA Today’s list. Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II were the two corners who earned Freshman All-American honors from USA Today.
Doyle joined Tennessee’s team as a walk-on prior to the 2017 season and redshirted his first year on campus. He played for Farragut High School in Knoxville, and he was selected to both the Under Armour and Army All-American games. He was a semifinalist for the Mr. Football award as a senior at Farragut.