RTI contributor Murphy Carlton is the author of this article
The Coaches All-SEC postseason teams were released on Tuesday, and the Vols were well represented, totaling five players on the first and second teams.
Junior offensive lineman Trey Smith received a spot on the first team, and safety Nigel Warrior, linebacker Daniel Bituli, wide receiver Marquez Callaway, and kicker Brent Cimaglia all received spots on the second team. The teams are voted on by the 14 coaches in the SEC.
The five Vols voted to the Coaches All-SEC teams are the most since five Tennessee players received the honor back in 2012 (Justin Hunter, Dallas Thomas, Antonio Richardson, Mychal Rivera, and AJ Johnson).
Honored as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the week twice in the 2019 season, Trey Smith’s 2019 season was full of highlights. The junior started at left guard for the Vols in their last 11 games, and he was the highest-graded offensive lineman on the roster with 46 knockdowns.
To go along with this honor, Smith also received a First Team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press on Monday. Smith is also a Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year semifinalist and an Orange Bowl Courage Award nominee as well.
The 2019 season saw a resurgent Nigel Warrior finally perform on the field like everyone hoped he would when he arrived on campus as a freshman. Warrior is tied for the SEC lead with four interceptions and is second on the team with 68 tackles and leads the team with seven pass breakups. Finding success under the coaching of Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley, the senior safety has positioned himself to be selected in the upcoming NFL draft in April.
Warrior was also named to the AP All-SEC first team earlier this week. He was a Preseason All-SEC third-team selection by the coaches, so the first team selection shows just how much improvement Warrior has made throughout the season.
The quarterback of Tennessee’s defense, senior linebacker Daniel Bituli, has been a tackling machine for the Vols in 2019. Despite only playing in 10 games and with limited action in his first game against UTC, Bituli led the Vols in tackles this season with 82. This marked the third consecutive season he led the team in tackles, making him just the second player in program history to lead the team in tackles for three years in a row.
Bituli was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and was also a PFF College National Team of the Week selection two times. His 19 tackles against Kentucky on Nov. 9 were the most tackles recorded by a player in the SEC this season. Bituli’s 8.2 tackles per game ranks fourth in the SEC as well. This marks the first time in Bituli’s career that he has received SEC postseason honors.
Not only is Marquez Callaway one of the most dynamic receivers in the SEC, but he is also one of the best special team returners in the conference. The senior wideout received second team All-SEC honors for his work as a returner in 2019. Callaway has totaled 150 punt return yards on 10 returns, which ranked fifth in the SEC. His 15.0 yards per return is among the best in the conference as well. His 65-yard punt return for a touchdown against South Carolina marked his third career return for a touchdown, and Callaway currently is fifth among active players in the FBS in career punt return average (13.8 avg).