KNOXVILLE – Three Vols have been named Preseason All-Americans by respected football pundit Phil Steele.
Tackle Tiny Richardson (2nd Team), linebacker A.J. Johnson (3rd Team) and defensive tackle Daniel McCullers (4th Team) were all selected for the national honors.
Johnson and McCullers were also selected to Steele’s Preseason All-SEC First Team, while Richardson was placed on his Preseason All-SEC Second Team.
Other Vols receiving Preseason All-SEC honors from Steele include guard Zach Fulton (2nd Team), center James Stone (2nd Team), tackle Ja’Wuan James (3rd team), safety Byron Moore (3rd Team) and linebacker Curt Maggitt (4th Team).
Richardson was one of the most dominant tackles in the SEC last year in his first season as a full-time starter. The Nashville native is considered one of the top junior draft prospects at his position.
Johnson, a junior, led the SEC in tackles in 2012 with 138 stops (11.5 per game). McCullers, a 6-foot-7, 360-pound defensive tackle had 39 tackles (5.5 TFLs) in his first season in Knoxville last year after transferring from Georgia Military Institute.
Nine SEC players were honored as Preseason First Team All-Americans by Steele: Quarterback Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), running back T.J. Yeldon (Alabama), receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama), tackle Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), linebacker CJ Mosley (Alabama), safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama), punter Kyle Christy (Florida) and punt returner Marcus Murphy (Missouri).
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanielNooga