Chest bump to Vol Navy for this great post. -- Joel
[Note by Joel, 12/09/08 6:43 AM EST ] Oops. I now see that Getoffmyvols had the same idea, so chest bumps all around. -- Joel
Over at Track'em Tigers that had a great post where they listed the All-Tubberville Team looking back at the best players that had played under him. I thought I would do what happens to all good ideas on the internet and steal it. This team will cover Fulmer's years as head coach (1993-2008). If a player was playing in 1993, I included his previous stats for sake of comparison. Some deserving players from early in the Fulmer era will probably be left of the list due to my age. I have tried to go back and look at the stats and who was chosen as All-SEC or All-American to supplement my memory. When careers are similar I will most likely choose the player that had the most dominant single season. In the comments tell me where I went wrong.
Quarterbacks: This was an easy choice. Peyton's stats far surpass any challengers and while Tee's stats are not as impressive as others a national championship more than compensates.
Backup: Tee Martin
Tailback: Travis Henry gets the nod here just by being the most consistent over his whole career and Stewart does the same. Jamal Lewis and Charlie Garner were the most impressive over a shorter period of time but an injury (Lewis) and playing only two years (Garner, JUCO transfer) kept them from the top spots. Travis Stephens had the best year total yardage-wise but his yards per carry were lower than the others as was Jay Graham's.
Backup: James Stewart
Fullback: I have no idea who should go here. The only other player I considered was Shawn Bryson. This is not a statistic driven position so I have no idea who were the fullbacks before Bryson.
Wide Receiver: Kent is at the top of most of the career receiving records, so he gets the top spot. Price and Nash have remarkably similar career paths. Nash's senior season was better statistically than Price's until you consider how many more times Manning threw the ball than Martin (477 to 267) in those two years. And there is that whole winning a National Championship thing. Meachem grabs the last spot with his stellar junior season and being named an All-American.
Joey Kent, Peerless Price
Backups: Marcus Nash, Robert Meachem
Tight End: Witten is only tight end to ever figure prominently in our passing attack and Chris Brown had a decent career.
Backup: Chris Brown
For all of the offensive lineman I just went by where players were drafted and who received post-season awards. I did exclude Munoz even though he was an All-American because he was never a dominant lineman.
Chad Clifton, Arron Sears
Backups: Jason Layman, Reggie Coleman
Cosey Coleman, Fred Weary
Backups: Bubba Miller, Jeff Smith
Backup: Scott Wells
Safety: Eric Berry has already compiled four years worth of stats in two with the accolades to go with them. Grant was an All-American and gets the other starting spot. White and Baker get the other two spots by having solid careers.
Eric Berry, Deon Grant
Rashad Baker, Fred White
Cornerback: Fair and Goodrich were All-SEC selections. Allen played cornerback and safety and would have probably have been a starter on this team if it wasn't for dislocating his hip during his senior season. Jonathan Wade grabs the last spot by not being bad.
Terry Fair, Dwayne Goodrich
Backups: Jonathan Wade, Jason Allen
Linebacker: The best linebackers of the Fulmer era are the starters from the National Championship team. Wilson and Thompson are easy choices with Westmoreland barely edging out Burnett. Burnett was chosen as an All-American his senior season but Westmoreland holds the Tennessee record for tackles for loss excluding sacks. Mayo had unbelievable numbers last year but his career totals are fairly low. Talley had the best stats of the remaining contenders.
Al Wilson, Raynoch Thompson, Eric Westmoreland
Backups: Kevin Burnett, Jerod Mayo, Ben Talley
Defensive End: Little is a given at one spot and he delivered my favorite hit in UT history (drilling Kitchens on the option against Alabama). Overstreet's stats were better than I remembered and he was All-SEC two years in a row. Brown and White had the next best career totals.
Leonard Little, Will Overstreet
Backups: Jonathan Brown, Steve White
Defensive Tackle: Looking back at the career totals, I was surprised at how poor Haynesworth numbers were. He probably shouldn't even make this list, however, he and Henderson were the anchors of the 2001 defense. Mahelona was an All-American but he only played two years and his senior year was a disappointment. Walker has the better career numbers and gets the starting spot.
John Henderson, Darwin Walker
Backups: Jesse Mahelona, Albert Haynesworth
Kicker: Hall is the UT career leader in points and hit the game winning field goal against Florida in '98. Becksvoort was an All-American which gave him the nod over the other kickers.
Backup: John Becksvoort
Punter: They are two and four on the career UT punting average, with one and three being their uncle and dad.
Backup: Britton Colquitt
Kick Returners: I really don't like having Scott first on this list but he returned so many more kicks than any others.
Leonard Scott, Peerless Price
LeMarcus Coker, Billy Williams
Punt Returner: Terry Fair is the only player on the career punt average list that did not play in the '50s. He also returned a punt in the first game I ever went to against UCLA, so he has the top spot locked up on my list.
Backup: Marc Jones
Compiling this list allowed me see just how strong we have been at some positions (running back, linebacker) and how week we have been at others (secondary) during the Fulmer era as coach. It was also interesting to note how many more sacks we were getting in the '90s than we have been recently. Plus this was an excuse to play around on this page.