KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - Tennessee linebacker Austin Johnson will be playing in the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 16 at Kino Stadium.
Johnson led the Vols in tackles in 2011 with 81, starting all 12 games at middle linebacker. He also led the team in interceptions with four. That total tied with Kentucky's Danny Trevathan for most interceptions by a linebacker in the NCAA. Johnson had six TFLs for 18 yards, including a sack. Johnson's four interceptions were the most by a Tennessee linebacker since Jackie Walker had five in 1970.
He finished with interceptions in four of the last six games, including three games in a row (11/5-19). He led the team in tackles five times including Vanderbilt (11/19), when led team in tackles with nine stops, made his first-career sack for 13 yards along with picking off a pass for the third game in a row. His second-career 10-plus tackle game vs. #14 South Carolina (10/29) giving him 100 career tackles. Johnson made a career-high 11 tackles to tie for team-lead vs. Georgia (10/8).
Johnson moved to linebacker as a junior in 2010 and played in all 13 games, making 44 tackles. He also tied for second on the team in special teams tackles with nine. Johnson had his first-career interception against UT-Martin (9/4/10) as a junior in the season opener. He earned UT's Andy Spiva Award as the team's defensive surprise player of 2010 spring practice period.
Johnson began his career with the Vols as a fullback and played in 18 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons helping to lead the way for current Cleveland Browns back Montario Hardesty.
He was named to the Academic All-SEC Team from 2008-10 (2011 has yet to be released).
Last year this all-star game debuted as the Eastham Energy College All Star Game and played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Vols' punter Chad Cunningham punted five times in the game.
This year's Casino Del Sol All-Star Game is being televised live on Fox Sports Arizona (Dish Network 415, DirectTV 686) and the coaches for the game are former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill and former Mississippi head coach Houston Nutt.