Five Tennessee Volunteers have been placed on the All-SEC team by the coaches in the league.
Trey Smith, Brent Cimglia, Daniel Bituli, Nigel Warrior and Marquez Callaway were each honored on Tuesday as the league announced its first and second teams.
Junior offensive lineman Trey Smith was Tennessee’s only first-team representative. It was a bit of a payoff for Smith, who has battled back from his second stint with blood clots this season. The health issue kept Smith out of back to back off-seasons, putting his football career in some jeopardy.
While it took Smith a few weeks to get back into his dominant form, he hit his stride in the second half of the season, helping to lead the Tennessee offense to a seven win season.
Linebacker Daniel Bituli missed the first two games for Tennessee this year — and it’s no mystery as to why Tennessee struggled defensively in those matchups. Tennessee’s defensive leader returned to the lineup and stabilized the entire defense, allowing the Volunteers to rip off six wins in the last seven games.
Safety Nigel Warrior has gone from a bit of a liability, to a legitimate difference maker at the safety position this season. Jeremy Pruitt spoke highly of Warrior all season long, and it’s easy to see why. Warrior clearly put in the work to get better this season and made several massive plays in both run defense and pass defense this season.
Finally, Marquez Callaway and Brent Cimaglia were honored for their special teams work. Cimaglia was one of Tennessee’s most important piece down the stretch, keeping the Vols afloat with clutch kicks this season. He was 20-24 on the year and perfect on extra points. He will be a big asset to Tennessee once against next season as a senior.
Nigel Warrior and Trey Smith also made the AP All-SEC team.
Five players is the most that Tennessee has placed on a coaches-voted All-SEC team since 2012. It’s a testament to the development of this roster in year two under Jeremy Pruitt, considering where this group started 24 months ago.