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Johnson Earns Several All-SEC Honors

Dec. 13, 2013


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Several Vols led by junior linebacker A.J. Johnson have earned All-SEC honors from national publications and websites. Johnson was named a first-team linebacker by Athlon Sports and Sporting News.

On the Athlon Sports All-SEC team, Johnson was named to the first team while offensive tackle Antonio Richardson was named to the second team.

Sporting News' 2013 All-SEC team features Johnson on the first team.

The College Sports Madness All-SEC team includes six Vols. Johnson, Richardson and offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James were named to the website's second team.

The third team includes running back Rajion Neal, defensive back Brian Randolph and punter Michael Palardy.

An 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.

An AP and Coaches All-SEC second-team selection, Richardson played and started in each of the Vols 12 games this season at left tackle helping Tennessee to 2,261 rushing yards in 2013, the most by UT since 2004. Over the course of the season, the Vols offensive line helped UT to five 200-yard rushing games and a 1,000-yard rusher in Neal, the first 1,000 yard rusher since Poole in 2010. Nashville, Tenn. native Richardson, who was named to the AP All-SEC second team last season, has started the last 24 games at left tackle for the Vols.

James, an AP All-SEC second-team selection, started all 49 games of his college career, all at right tackle. With 49 starts, the Suwanee, Ga., native set the record for career starts by an offensive lineman in Tennessee history, passing Jeff Smith (48). His 49 games played, stands second to former teammate and 2013 Senior Bowl invitee Dallas Thomas (50) for most games played on the offensive line at Tennessee.

Neal ran for 1,124 yards as a senior, scoring a team-best 12 touchdowns in 2013. His rushing total was the most by a Vol in a regular-season since 2009 (Montario Hardesty). Neal posted five 100-yard rushing games including a career-high 169 vs. South Alabama. The Fayetteville, Ga., native finished 14th on the career rushing yardage list with 2,163. Overall, he ran for 100 yards or more in seven of his 43 career games with the Vols. That included three SEC games with 100 yards or more (Georgia, 148; Kentucky, 134; Auburn, 124). He also had 66 catches for 626 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

Randolph returned to action and started all 12 games in 2013 after missing most of the 2012 season with a knee injury. Randolph finished second on the Vols with 75 tackles. He led the team with four interceptions and was third on the team in passes defended with seven this season. Randolph tied his career-high with 12 tackles and made game-saving interception in end zone as South Alabama (9/28) was driving with a chance to tie the game in final minutes. The Marietta, Ga., native also had a game-high 11 tackles, including two TFLs, at #19 Florida (9/21) as he made his 100th career tackle in that game. Randolph was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9 after he had the first two interceptions of his career vs. Western Kentucky (9/7) along with eight tackles.

Palardy was an All-SEC second-team placekicker by the SEC Coaches and an honorable mention punter on the Associated Press All-SEC team. Palardy, who was also a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, finished his season 14-of-17 in field goal tries and 37-of-50 (.740) in his career for field goals, which ranks third all-time among Tennessee kickers. Palardy was 34-of-35 in extra point attempts and led the team in scoring with 76 points.

In punting, Palardy finished the year with a 44.5 punting average, ranking him third among UT punters with a minimum of 50 punts in a single season. Palardy finished his career with a 42.9 punting average which ranks second all-time at Tennessee. The senior launched 18 punts of 50 yards or more while 17 of Palardy's punts landed inside the 10-yard line and 33 inside the 20-yard line.

 

 

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