July 8, 2012
Tackle Abe Shires earned his share of glory as a member of the best lines ever at Tennessee. Shires earned All-America status his junior year of 1939 by paving the road for the legendary backfield of Bob Foxx, Leonard Coffman, George Cafego and Sam Bartholomew. Shires was part of the unprecedented and unparalleled three-year stretch in which the Vols went undefeated in three consecutive regular seasons. His blocking and tackling helped Tennessee to outscore its opponents 837-75 and be crowned SEC champions 1938, 1939 and 1940.
Center Bob Johnson left UT as one of the most decorated athletes in school history. Doug Dickey's first recruit struggled making snaps his sophomore year after moving over from the tackle position, but rebounded to garner All-America status in 1966. As captain of the 1967 Vols, Johnson lived up to his preseason hype by earning his second All-SEC and All-America nods with unanimous votes. Johnson was awarded the Jacobs Trophy, given to the SEC's best blocker, and the Birmingham Touchdown Club named him the SEC's Most Outstanding Lineman. In addition, Johnson finished sixth in the Heisman voting as a center. He was the No. 1 NFL draft pick by the expansion Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 and went on to play 154 games with them them until 1979. Johnson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
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