Tennessee defensive back Brandon Turnage was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of Week for his play against South Carolina, the league announced Monday.
Starting at the STAR spot for an injured Theo Jackson, Turnage recorded 14 tackles and two tackles for a loss in the 45-20 win over South Carolina.
“Brandon Turnage, the guy played, I’m not going to say flawless because I haven’t watched the tape yet, but he played rock solid,” Heupel said postgame. “It was a great effort by him.”
Turnage, an Alabama transfer, had played very sparingly in the first five games of the season and recorded just two tackles. The redshirt-sophomore was ready for his opportunity when it came against the Gamecocks.
“Honestly, it was just truly a blessing,” Turnage said postgame. “Coach every day, every week talks about everybody being ready, everybody being prepared. My name was called, and I went out there and do what I have to do.”
Turnage impressed with his ability to be in the correct spot and make the plays that were in front of him Saturday.
Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said he expects Theo Jackson to be available on Saturday presenting an interesting situation. Jackson has been fantastic this season at the STAR spot, but taking Turnage off the field could be challenging after his week six performance.
Heupel echoed that sentiment Monday, saying both of them could find playing time.
“They both have the ability to move to different spots and perform at a very high level,” Heupel said.
Tennessee is slight underdogs against Ole Miss for this Saturday night’s matchup at Neyland Stadium.