The Tennessee Volunteers had a very mediocre decade for their program’s standards. The team finished the decade with a record of 63-62 while being led by three head coaches including current coach Jeremy Pruitt. On the bright side, the Vols did have a 4-1 bowl record during the decade that concluded with four straight bowl wins. Despite a decade to forget for Tennessee fans, the program produced many talented players that kept consistently kept Tennessee a contender in the SEC East. In honor of those players, we take a look at the 2010’s All-Decade Team for the Tennessee Volunteers.
Quarterback: Josh Dobbs (2013-2016)
The quarterback position was one of the most difficult to select between Dobbs and Tyler Bray. In 37 games as the starting quarterback, Josh Dobbs led Tennessee to a 22-15 record. He also threw for 7,138 yards and 53 touchdowns (both fifth in school history) while also rushing for 2,160 yards and 32 touchdowns (3rd most by any position in school history). His 9,298 total yards and 87 touchdowns rank third and second, respectively, in Tennessee history. Dobbs finished his career with a 3-0 record in Tennessee’s bowl games.
Running Back: Jalen Hurd (2014-2016)
Yes, Jalen Hurd was the best running back that Tennessee had during the past decade and it’s not really close. Despite the controversial departure during the 2016 season, Hurd ranks near the top in most of the Vols’ rushing statistics. In two and a half seasons, Hurd had 589 carries (2nd), 2,638 rushing yards (6th) and 26 total touchdowns. When comparing the Hendersonville, TN native to other Tennessee greats, he passed many of their four-year stats in just 33 games.
Wide Receiver: Justin Hunter (2010-2012)
Justin Hunter began his career as one of the top freshmen receivers in the season. He ended his first season with 25.9 yards per catch (1st in the SEC) and seven touchdown receptions (6th in the SEC). However, his sophomore campaign was ended just three games into the season following an ACL tear against Florida. Hunter would rebound as a junior where he finished in the top 4 for all SEC receiving marks with 73 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. He would end his Tennessee career, after just 28 games, as fifth all-time in touchdown receptions in program history.
Wide Receiver: Jauan Jennings (2015-2019)
The fact that Jauan Jennings is even considered one of the top Tennessee receivers in recent memory is astounding since he began his collegiate career as a quarterback. Many remember Jennings for his alpha male attitude and unforgettable catches against Georgia and Florida. However, his statistics say just as much about his Volunteer legacy. Jennings ranks fifth in career receptions (146) and touchdowns (18) while ranking fourth in receiving yards (2,153). The most impressive part of his college career was that he played much of his career amidst numerous quarterback changes and continuous struggles over his last three seasons.
Wide Receiver: Josh Malone (2014-2016)
Josh Malone joined a crowded Tennessee receiving group as a freshman in 2014. However, by the end of his junior season, he was one of the top receivers in the entire SEC. As a senior Malone finished third in the SEC in receiving yards (972) and touchdowns (11). His 972 yards gave him the 10th most in Tennessee history while his 11 touchdowns ranked third.
TE: Mychal Rivera (2010-2012)
Mychal Rivera flew under the radar until his senior season. During his final year, Rivera broke Jason Witten‘s tight-end receiving record at Tennessee with 562 yards. Rivera is also only the second Volunteer tight-end to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in school history, joining Reggie Harper.
OL: Ja’Wuan James (2010-2013)
Ja’Wuan James shot onto the scene at Tennessee as he started all 13 games as a true freshman at Tennessee and earned a spot on the All-SEC freshman team. From his first game until his last, James started every game of his college career (49), giving him the career start record for Tennessee offensive linemen and putting him second in NCAA history.
OL: Trey Smith (2017-Present)
Trey Smith was Tennessee’s highest ranked recruit in the 2017 class. As a true freshman, Smith started in all 12 games and was named to the 2nd team All-SEC and freshman All-SEC teams. Smith also became the first true freshman to start at left tackle for Tennessee since the 1970’s. He was sidelined seven games into his sophomore season due to a health scare. The following year, Smith returned and picked up where he had left off. As a junior, Smith was named first team All-SEC as a junior. Last week, he announced that he would be returning in 2020 for his senior season.
OL: Dallas Thomas (2008-2012)
Dallas Thomas played in every game in his Tennessee career after redshirting in 2008. From his sophomore through senior seasons, Thomas started every game (37) on the Vols’ offensive line. He played a major role in Tennessee’s record breaking 2012 season where Tennessee’s offense averaged nearly 476 yards per game including five games with over 500 total yards.
OL: Zach Fulton (2010-2013)
Zach Fulton joined Tennessee as one of the top high school offensive guards in the country. After starting just five games as a true freshman, Fulton started all 35 games in his final three seasons at Tennessee.
OL: Antonio Richardson (2011-2013)
Antonio “Tiny” Richardson is one of a very few Volunteer offensive linemen to enter the NFL draft following their junior seasons. However, Richardson’s size and strength grabbed the eyes of scouts very early. The 6’6″, 330 pound lineman was named All-SEC second team as a sophomore and third team All-American as a junior.