KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 2017 preseason is picking up right where 2016 left off — with Tennessee the Rodney Dangerfield of college football.
The first preseason All-SEC team came out via Athlon Sports, and Tennessee didn’t have any players on offense or defense make the first or second-team offensive or defensive units.
Evan Berry was the first-team pick for kick return, but after that, it’s a lot of third-team picks:
• WR Jauan Jennings
• OL Jashon Robertson
• LB Darrin Kirkland
• P Trevor Daniel
Athlon Sports picked Tennessee No. 19 in its preseason rankings.
Florida, which had 13 All-SEC picks to the Vols’ 5, and Georgia, which had 10 preseason-All-SEC picks, were ranked No. 16 (Gators) and No. 15 (Bulldogs).
Last year, Josh Dobbs led the SEC in passing efficiency and QB touchdowns, winning nine games despite playing seven different injury riddled offensive line combinations.
Somehow, Dobbs didn’t make first team All-SEC — nor did anyone else on the 2016 Vols’ offense, even though Tennessee set a single-season school record for points and touchdowns.
Some fans and writers were mesmerized by Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, an amazing but raw athlete who wasn’t asked to do much within his star-studded offense.
Dobbs as a senior was more accomplished and capable than the freshman Hurts but Tennessee’s head to head game with the Crimson Tide left much to be desired.
It’s doubtful voters took into consideration the Vols played that game with four of five starting offensive lineman missing by game’s end.
The 2017 team will have its chance to establish its own legacy, and should it not succumb to injuries like the 2016 team — 17 of 22 starters missed games — there’s a good chance the postseason All-SEC team could look different than the preseason versions that will continue to come out.