Staff Report: SPORTS

The Tennessee football team had three players selected to preseason All-SEC teams voted on by the conference’s 14 coaches.

Senior offensive lineman Cade Mays was named to the first team, senior punter Paxton Brooks was selected to the second team and senior defensive back Alontae Taylor earned third team honors.

Mays, a 6-foot-6, 325-pound offensive lineman from Knoxville is entering his second season on Rocky Top after transferring from Georgia in early 2020. He started seven of the Vols’ 10 games last season. Mays was also selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the FWAA Freshman All-American team his debut year at Georgia in 2018.

Brooks started all 10 games last season and averaged 43.6 yards per punt, good enough for fourth best in the SEC. Brooks also handles the Vols’ kickoff duties, with a 61.5 touchback percentage. The Lexington, South Carolina native has also been included on the 2021 Ray Guy Award Watch List, a prize given to the nation’s best punter.

Third team member Alontae Taylor — a 6-foot and 193-pound defensive back from Manchester, Tennessee — was hampered by a hamstring injury that limited him to just eight games last season, starting in only five. Taylor recorded 29 tackles and one interception in 2020 while also earning a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Tennessee opens the 2021 campaign Thursday, Sept. 2 against Bowling Green at Neyland Stadium at 8 p.m. ET.

UT Sponsored Content