Just nine more Mondays until the Vols take on Georgia Tech, so naturally we’re going to highlight the best number nine in Tennessee football history. That of course, being Derek Barnett.
Barnett really doesn’t have much competition here. He turned the number into his own, capturing Reggie White’s sack record. He cemented himself as a Tennessee legend in his final game, finally getting to Nebraska’s Ryker Fyfe — who had been running from Barnett all afternoon.
I actually thought Barnett’s performance against Nebraska was one of his best, despite getting him just once. He absolutely wrecked that game. Barnett was credited with four pressures, but it seemed like quite a bit more. It was such a perfect way to end his Tennessee career.
Barnett singled-handedly propped Tennessee’s defense up in some big spots last season. He changed the game with a strip sack against Georgia with under three minutes to play. He changed the game with a strip sack against Alabama early on and kept the Vols alive for the time being. He forced a key sack on third down in the fourth quarter against Florida.
I know I’m leaving some out, but you get it. Barnett was a massive part of the defense last year, coming through in the biggest spots. Kyle Phillips, Jonathan Kongbo and Darrell Taylor have some massive shoes to fill.
We wish Barnett all the luck in the world with the Philadelphia Eagles, but man — we sure are going to miss him this season.