Darrell Taylor Named to Another Preseason Award Watch List

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    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    Tennessee redshirt senior outside linebacker Darrell Taylor has been named to another preseason watch list for a prestigious annual award.

    It was announced on Monday that Taylor is one of the names on the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award. Every year, the Butkus Award is given to the top linebacker in college football.

    Previously, Taylor was named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award a week ago.

    Taylor is the first Vol linebacker to be included on the Butkus Award watch list since Jalen Reeves-Maybin made the watch list prior to the 2016 season.

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    The redshirt senior linebacker had a breakout performance in 2018, totaling 36 tackles, eight sacks, 11 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Taylor had monster performances in two SEC games, racking up three sacks and two forced fumbles against Georgia on the road and tied a school record with four sacks in a game against Kentucky in the Vols’ upset victory over the Wildcats. He also totaled six tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack in Tennessee’s season finale against Vanderbilt.

    Despite all that and his inclusion on two prestigious watch lists, Taylor wasn’t named to any of the preseason All-SEC defensive teams at SEC Media Days last week.

    Tennessee has never had a player win the Butkus Award, but two Vols have been named finalists for the award in the past. Keith DeLong (1988) and Raynoch Thompson (1999) were both finalists.

    Taylor is one of five Vols to be named to preseason award watch lists so far. He has two watch lists to his name, and he’s joined by four other Vols who have appeared on one watch list apiece. Redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was named to the Maxwell Award watch list, junior running back Ty Chandler was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list, senior tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson was named to the John Mackey Award watch list, and offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.