Veteran Tennessee Player Accepts Senior Bowl Invitation

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    Alontae Taylor Senior Bowl

    Tennessee DB Alontae Taylor. Photo via Andrew Ferguson/ Tennessee Athletics

    The end of the football season is quickly approaching, which means the 2022 Reece’s Senior Bowl is also around the corner. The Senior Bowl is an opportunity for elite senior players across the country to showcase their talents in front of many NFL scouts and coaches.

    As of Thursday, Tennessee senior defensive back and veteran leader Alontae Taylor has officially accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. To this date, Taylor is the only Tennessee player that has openly announced their intention to participate in the Senior Bowl.

    In recent years, the Senior Bowl has been a significant advantage to former Vols such as Jauan Jennings, Josh Palmer, Darrell Taylor, and Trey Smith.

    Taylor, a native of Manchester, TN, has been a tone-setter on Tennessee’s defense for his entire career. However, his importance to this year’s team cannot be understated. As a senior for the Vols, Taylor found his career-high in tackles against Georgia, took his first pick-six into the endzone against Kentucky, and has helped lead Tennessee to their second bowl appearance in the last five years.

    “[Alontae’s] been great,” defensive coordinator Tim Banks said on Tuesday. “[Alontae] will probably be like the President of the United States at some point. He’s just that type of guy, you know? He’s very sharp, he’s very charismatic. Once again, no different than all the seniors. I felt like there was a tremendous amount of buy-in. They were just hungry. They obviously had some success, and Tae was right at the front beating the drum, ‘If we work hard, coach, do you think we have a chance to be successful?’ Once you tell them that, the rest was up to those guys. They worked their tails off, and like I said, Tae was a big part of that in terms of being upfront and really preaching our gospel.”

    In his career, Taylor has played in 49 games with 29 starts at the cornerback position. He was selected to the SEC Football Leadership Council in 2020 and is now in his second term as vice-chair.

    Additionally, off the field, Taylor is a two-time Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll selection in 2019 and 2020. And most recently, in 2021, Taylor was selected to the Preseason All-SEC Third Team by the coaches and media.

    Through 11 games this season, Taylor has a total of 54 tackles, one forced fumble, and has two interceptions. As mentioned previously, one of those went back to the house, helping Tennessee secure its first ranked win of the year against Kentucky.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.