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Three Vols Earn All-SEC Coaches Honors

A trio of Tennessee football Volunteers have earned spots on the coaches All-SEC Teams

After a successful season in year one of the Josh Heupel era, the Vols are set to take on Purdue in the Music City Bowl later this month after finishing 7-5 and third in the SEC East.

Multiple players played key roles in Tennessee's success this season, especially a handful of seniors. Hendon Hooker and Matt Butler were great for the Vols and had career years in 2021, but Theo Jackson, Cade Mays Velus Jones Jr.'s great senior season performances have earned the trio All-SEC Coaches Honors.

It is the first time any of the three have received All-SEC postseason honors in their careers. It marks the second time in three seasons that the Vols had at least three players named to the postseason All-SEC teams by the league's coaches.

Jones Jr. earns first-team honors as an all-purpose player and a return specialist. He joins VFL and current Kansas City Chief as the second Vol to earn All-SEC first-team honors since 2016. Jones becomes the first Vol to the honors as an all-purpose player since Evan Berry in 2015.

The Alabama native has been one of Tennessee's top weapons on offense and on special teams this season. Jones is the only player in the nation with 700-plus receiving yards (722), 500-plus kickoff return yards (506) and 200-plus punt return yards (272), according to UT Athletics. His average of 126.3 all-purpose yards per game ranks third in the league. No. 1 also leads the SEC in punt return average (16.0) and ranks second in kickoff return average (28.1). His 2,851 career kickoff return yards lead all active FBS players. The redshirt senior was named the SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after his performance against South Alabama in Week 11. 

Jones had a career year on the offensive side of the ball in 2021, setting career-highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (722) and touchdown catches (six), all of which rank second on the team and top 12 in the SEC.

Tennessee senior defensive back Theo Jackson earned All-SEC Coaches second-team recognition after his best season as a collegiate athlete in his final year at UT. The super-senior led all SEC defensive backs with a career-high nine tackles for loss and ranked third in the conference with a career-high 12 passes defended. The Nashville, Tennessee, native set career bests in tackles (73) and sacks (1.5) as well.

Jackson capped the regular season with his first-career pick six against Vanderbilt on Senior Night. 

Theo Jackson against South Alabama. 📸: Matt Ray

Theo Jackson against South Alabama. 📸: Matt Ray

Tennessee senior offensive lineman Cade Mays joined Jackson as a second-team selection. The Knoxville native helped anchor the Vols' offensive line as the team's starting right tackle. According to PFF.com, Mays was the Vols' highest-graded offensive lineman this season and allowed just one sack and five pressures in 493 offensive snaps played. Mays dealt with his fair share of injuries this season but was still able to have an above-average year protecting Hendon Hooker and leading the way for the run game. The Knoxville native earned All-SEC weekly honors twice this year after performances against Mizzou and Kentucky

Cade Mays coming down the Vol Walk prior to South Alabama. 📸: Matt Ray

Cade Mays coming down the Vol Walk prior to South Alabama. 📸: Matt Ray

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Behind Mays, Tennessee finished the season fourth in the SEC and 16th nationally in total offense with 459 yards per game. The Vols' rushing attack was especially effective, ranking third in the conference and 19th in the country with 212.0 rushing yards per game. The Orange and White also ranked third in the league and ninth in the FBS in scoring offense, averaging 38.8 points per game.

To see the full Coaches All-SEC teams, click HERE.

All stats and information via UT Athletics Communications

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