July 17, 2014
HOOVER, Ala. -- Senior linebacker A.J. Johnson has been named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team and sophomore wide receiver Marquez North earned a spot on the Preseason All-SEC Third Team as announced the SEC Media Days on Thursday.
Johnson is a preseason consensus All-American and has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Awards.
Johnson returned to Tennessee for his senior season after another stellar campaign as a junior. A 2013 AP and Coaches All-SEC first-team selection, Johnson became the first Vol to record 100 tackles in back to back seasons since Earnest Fields did so in 1990-91 finishing his 2013 campaign with 106. Johnson also notched 8.5 tackles for a loss of 17 yards, tying a career high, while also recovering a fumble and breaking up three passes. Johnson notched five double-digit tackling efforts in 2013, bringing his career total to 18.
He currently sits in third place on the UT career assisted tackles list with 164. The Gainesville, Ga., native enters his final season on Rocky Top with 324 career tackles in 36 career games.
North comes into his second season on Rocky Top after a freshman All-American campaign in 2013.
North started all 11 games he played and was the Vols leader in receiving yards with 496 as a true freshman. He finished second on the team with 38 receptions, the second-most by a freshman in Tennessee history. His yardage total ranks as the third-best total by a freshman in UT annals.
The Charlotte, N.C., native became the first true freshman since 2009 (Marsalis Teague) to start a season opener for the Orange & White. North had his first career 100-yard game with three catches for 102 yards in the upset win over #11 South Carolina (10/19). That total made North the first freshman since Justin Hunter in 2010 with 100-yard game. North also had his second of two ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays in the game with a remarkable 39-yard one-handed grab.