BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Led by senior wide receiver Marquez Callaway’s second-team selection as a return specialist, three Tennessee football players were named to the 2019 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team on Thursday.
Joining Callaway and capturing preseason honors were redshirt senior outside linebacker Darrell Taylor and senior defensive back Nigel Warrior, who each grabbed third-team accolades.
Callaway’s career punt return average of 13.4 is the highest among active players in the FBS. He has returned 29 punts for 389 yards and two touchdowns in his career, including an 82-yard score a year ago. He averaged 11.9 yards per punt return in 2018, ranking him third in the SEC and 13th in the nation.
Additionally, he is expected to start for a third-consecutive year at wide receiver for the Vols. He led Tennessee with 37 catches for 592 yards in 2018. The Warner Robins, Ga., native also was named to the 2019 Preseason All-SEC Second Team by the media in June.
Taylor proved to be one of the SEC’s top pass rushers in 2018 and his eight sacks last fall are the most of any returning conference player. He has 11 sacks, 16.5 TFLs, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries over his 30-game career. Last season, Taylor captured National Defensive Player of the Week honors after tallying four sacks in 24-7 upset of No. 11 Kentucky. He also had a three-sack, two-forced-fumble game at Georgia. Taylor has been named to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Butkus Award for 2019.
Warrior is expected to enter his third season as a starting safety for the Vols this fall after registering 169 tackles over 36 career games. The College Park, Ga., native has started 24 consecutive games. He ranked second on the Vols with 64 tackles in 2018. He finished 13th in the league with 83 stops in 2017, and added three forced fumbles.