Eight different Tennessee football players have been named to the preseason All-SEC teams by renowned college football statistician Phil Steele.
The annual Phil Steele College Football Preview Magazine is now out, and included in its pages are Steele’s preseason all-conference and All-American teams. In the SEC edition, eight Vols made his various teams, and one Vol earned preseason All-American honors by Steele, too.
Senior offensive lineman Trey Smith was named to Steele’s preseason All-American squad as well as earning All-SEC distinctions. Those two honors are just the latest in what’s been a decorated offseason for the Vols’ star lineman. Smith has also earned preseason All-American honors from Athlon Sports, Sporting News, and Walter Camp.
On Steele’s All-SEC teams, four offensive players, two defensive players, and two special teams players earned all-conference nods.
Smith is joined by fellow offensive linemen Cade Mays, Brandon Kennedy, and Wanya Morris on the preseason All-SEC offensive teams. Mays has yet to play a down for the Vols and is still waiting to hear if he will be immediately eligible for the 2020 season after transferring from Georgia. Kennedy was Tennessee’s full-time starter at center last season, and Morris shined as a freshman as a starter at left tackle.
Defensively, linebacker Henry To’o To’o and cornerback Bryce Thompson made Steele’s All-SEC list. Thompson enters his junior season having flashed plenty of potential in his previous two years as a Vol, and To’o To’o is coming off a stellar freshman campaign in 2019 that saw him make the SEC All-Freshman Team and earn Freshman All-American honors from 247Sports and The Athletic.
On special teams, senior kicker Brent Cimaglia and returner/wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. were named to Steele’s All-SEC teams. Cimaglia returns as arguably the best kicker in the SEC from last season, and he’s poised to leave his mark all over UT’s record books. Jones is a grad transfer from USC and was a productive kick returner for the Trojans, earning All-Pac-12 honors as a returner in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Right now, Tennessee’s 2020 season is scheduled to begin on September 5th in Knoxville when the Vols host Charlotte.