Just In: Five Vols Named to Preseason All-SEC Teams
It has been a crazy off-season, but SEC and Tennessee football is almost here. Today, the preseason All-SEC coaches teams were released, and Tennessee had five players featured on the list; Trey Smith and Brent Cimaglia (1st team), Wanya Morris and Henry To'o To'o (2nd team), and Bryce Thompson (3rd team).
The five players are the most Vols featured on the teams since 2016, when they had eight players selected. You can view the entire list here.
The University released a press release featuring a statement about each player:
For Smith, Thursday's announcement added to an already impressive list of preseason accolades that includes multiple first-team All-America honors as well as being named to a handful of national award preseason watch lists. Smith was a first-team All-SEC selection by the media and coaches after anchoring the Vols' offensive line in 2019. The Jackson, Tennessee, native also won the 2019 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award and took home the inaugural Fritz Pollard Trophy after a dominant junior season. Smith, a potential first-round pick, decided to forego the 2020 NFL Draft to return to Tennessee for his senior season.
Cimaglia has also garnered some well-deserved preseason attention after one best seasons ever by a Tennessee kicker last year. The senior drilled 23 of his 27 field goal attempts last season, including two from 50-plus yards, to earn second-team All-SEC honors. Cimaglia also connected on all 35 extra point attempts and was 9-of-11 on kicks of 40 or more yards. The Nashville native was a 2019 Lou Groza Award semifinalist and was also named to the 2020 Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List.
Morris will look to build on a solid freshman campaign that saw him earn Freshman All-SEC team honors as well as 247Sports True Freshman All-America recognition. The former 5-star recruit started 12 of UT's 13 games at left tackle in 2019, helping the Vols close the season with six consecutive wins.
To'o To'o was one of the top freshman defensive players in the country last season and finished second on the team with 72 tackles, including five tackles for loss. His 72 tackles ranked second among SEC freshmen and fourth among FBS freshmen.
The Sacramento, California, native was named to the 2019 SEC All-Freshman team as well as Freshman All-America teams selected by The Athletic and 247Sports. With the departure of senior linebacker Daniel Bituli, To'o To'o is expected to take over as the leader of Tennessee's defense this season. He has been named to preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and Bednarik Award.
Thompson has been the Vols' top corner for each of the past two seasons, racking up 66 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, 15 pass breakups and six interceptions during his two years with the program. The Irmo, South Carolina, native did not allow a single touchdown in 325 coverage snaps last season according to PFF College. Thompson also tied the school record for interceptions in a game by picking off three passes in the first half of UT's 30-7 win over UAB.
Tennessee will kick off its season in nine days against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium.