Dec. 6, 2006

Sears on Jacobs Award

Tennessee senior Arron Sears continued an award-winning finish to an outstanding collegiate football career Wednesday when the Southeastern Conference named him recipient of the 2006 Jacobs Award.

An All-America offensive tackle from Russellville, Ala., Sears becomes Tennessee's 18th overall winner and 13th different player to claim the prestigious trophy and UT's first since Antone Davis was named in 1990. The Vols and Alabama now are tied for most all-time Jacobs Award winners, with Georgia the next closest SEC school at seven.

"The Jacobs Award goes to the best lineman in the SEC, and that is a great accomplishment for me," Sears said. "I had an OK year by my standards, but I guess the coaches thought I played pretty well."

Presented annually since 1935, the Jacobs Award is based on a postseason poll of all 12 league coaches in conjunction with All-SEC balloting and other selected honors. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

"This is a well-deserved honor for Arron," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I'm very excited. To me, this is certainly the top honor for a lineman in the Southeast and one of the top honors in the nation."

Sears began the season being named to the 2006 Playboy All-America team and has kept his momentum going from there. He was named last week a first-team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association and, and this week came word that he earned his second consecutive double selection as first-team, All-SEC by both the league coaches and Associated Press.

Sears enters his final game in a Tennessee uniform having made 31 consecutive starts. He anchors an offensive line that allowed only 17 sacks -- third-fewest in the league -- against 378 pass attempts -- second-most in the league. He has missed just one start since his freshman campaign, starting at every position on the line except center.

"I'm excited for Arron," said Greg Adkins, UT assistant coach who oversees Tennessee's offensive line. "He's a guy that decided to come back for his senior year and then proceeded to get himself ready for a great senior season. He works very hard in the weight room, has stayed relatively healthy it all has paid off with these individual awards he has received."

Tennessee's Jacobs Award winners: Sam Bartholomew (1938, 1939), Billy Bevis (1944, 1945), Jimmy Hahn (1951), John Michels (1952), Stockton Adkins (1956, 1957), Jim Cartwright (1959, 1960), Hal Wantland (1965), Bob Johnson (1967), Chip Kell (1969, 1970), Harry Galbreath (1987), Eric Still (1989), Antone Davis (1990), Arron Sears (2006).

Former UT offensive guard Larry Smith, who played for the Vols under head coach Johnny Majors from 1988-90, died Monday in Nashville.

A Milan native, Smith was a two-way player and earned Class AA All-State honors under legendary coach John Tucker. Teammates on those squads were future Vols Earnest Fields and John Fisher. Smith went on to be a member of two SEC championship teams for the Vols in 1989 and 1990.

Visitation is Friday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Central time at the Hermitage Funeral Home on Shute Lane. Funeral is at Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church at 11 a.m. Saturday, with family visitation beginning at 10 a.m.





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