BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) – The Vols received six All-SEC selections by league coaches on Tuesday. Tight end Mychal Rivera and all-purpose player Cordarrelle Patterson were named to the first team. Wide receiver Justin Hunter, linebacker A.J. Johnson and offensive lineman Dallas Thomas were all named to the second team. Patterson also earned a spot on the second team as the return specialist.
With six selections, only two SEC teams earned more than the Vols: Alabama with eight and Florida with seven. Tennessee is tied with Georgia for the third-most in the SEC with six.
The last time the Vols had two first-team All-SEC picks by the league coaches was in 2008 with Robert Ayers and Eric Berry. The last time UT had six or more coaches selections was in 2007.
Patterson, who was also the first-team all-purpose pick on the AP All-SEC team, is the first Vol to earn multiple honors on a team since Terry Fair in 1996 who earned accolades as a returner and defensive back.
Patterson had a record-setting year as he established the SEC's new single-season mark for average per return for combined kickoff and punt returns at 27.6. His kickoff return average of 28.0, ranks second all-time in the SEC for a single-season.
Patterson also established a new Tennessee record for all-purpose yards in a season with 1,858. His 154.8 all-purpose yards per game led the SEC and ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Patterson became the first player in the NCAA to record a touchdown four different ways in the same season since 2008 and the first-ever to accomplish the feat at Tennessee.
He led the Vols with 10 total touchdowns (five receiving, three rushing and one each by kickoff and punt return). Patterson had 42 catches for 778 yards to go along with 25 carries for 308 yards. He returned 24 kickoffs for 671 yards and four punts for 101 yards. He posted the fourth-greatest receiving day in UT history with nine catches for 219 yards against Troy. Against the Trojans, he racked up 275 all-purpose yards, the second-most for any Vol in a single game, ever. He scored the Vols' first punt return for a touchdown since 2003 with an 81-yard return at Vanderbilt.
Rivera is UT's first coaches' first-team tight end since Jason Witten in 2002. The AP second-team tight end set the record for receiving yards in a single-season by a Tennessee tight end with 562 yards, surpassing the Dallas Cowboys' Witten, who has 493 in 2002 with the Vols. Rivera closed his senior season with catches in 18 consecutive games. He posted career-highs with 10 catches for 129 yards against Missouri. Rivera had five receiving touchdowns as part of his career-best 36 catches.
Hunter, who was also a second-team pick byt he AP, led the Vols and finished third in the SEC with 73 catches for 1,083 yards. His total for catches ranked second-most in a season in Tennessee history and his yardage total was third all-time in a season. Hunter scored nine receiving touchdowns, including a school-record tying three TDs in two different games this season. He scored three touchdowns against both Georgia State and Troy. Hunter had four 100-yard receiving games as a junior including a career-high 181 vs. Troy. He became the eighth Vol with a 1,000-yard receiving season.
Johnson finished fourth in the NCAA in tackles and tackles per game with 138 for 11.5 per game. As a sophomore, Johnson led the SEC in tackles in 12 starts in 2012. He also had team-high 8.5 TFLs for 25 yards along with his first-career sack and eight quarterback hurries. He posted most tackles by a Vol since Jerod Mayo made 140 in 2007. His 75 assisted tackles are the third-most in a season at UT. With 21 tackles at Mississippi State, Johnson had most stops by a Vol in 24 years, since Keith DeLong had 23 vs. Alabama in 1988. He averaged 12.9 tackles over the last 10 games of the season with at least 11 tackles in each game. Those were his 10 games with double-figure tackles in 2012. Johnson also rushed 12 times for 21 yards with team-high six touchdowns out of `The Beast' a Wildcat QB formation.
Thomas, was is a third-team All-American by CBSSports.com and second-team All-SEC pick by the AP, helped the Vols to one of the nation's top offensive lines as a left guard in 2012. The Vols' offensive line allowed just eight sacks, the fewest in the SEC and fourth-fewest per game (0.67) in the NCAA. Tennessee racked up 475.9 yards of offense per game to rank 20th in the nation and 315.6 yards of passing offense to list 15th overall. Tennessee had five games with 500-plus yards of total offense, the most by UT since 1997. That included a school-record 718 yards of total offense against Troy.
TE - Mychal Rivera, Tennessee
OL - Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OL - Chance Warmack, Alabama
OL - D.J. Fluker, Alabama
OL - Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
C - Barrett Jones, Alabama
WR - Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
WR - Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
QB - Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB - Mike Gillislee, Florida
RB - Eddie Lacy, Alabama
AP - Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DL - Sam Montgomery, LSU
DL - Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
DL - Sharrif Floyd, Florida
LB - Jarvis Jones, Georgia
LB - C.J. Mosley, Alabama
LB - Kevin Minter, LSU
DB - Dee Milliner, Alabama
DB - Matt Elam, Florida
DB - Eric Reid, LSU
DB - Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
PK – Caleb Sturgis, Florida
P – Kyle Christy, Florida
RS – Ace Sanders, South Carolina
TE - Jordan Reed, Florida
OL - Larry Warford, Kentucky
OL - Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
OL - Chris Burnette, Georgia
OL - Dallas Thomas, Tennessee
C - T.J. Johnson, South Carolina
WR - Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee
QB - AJ McCarron, Alabama
RB - Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB - Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt
AP - Ace Sanders, South Carolina
DL - Barkevious Mingo, LSU
DL - Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
DL - John Jenkins, Georgia
DL - Corey Lemonier, Auburn
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB - Jon Bostic, Florida
LB - *Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State
LB - *Alec Ogletree, Georgia
DB - D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina
DB - Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
DB - Robert Lester, Alabama
DB - Darius Slay, Mississippi State
PK - Drew Alleman, LSU
P - * Dylan Breeding, Arkansas
P - * Richard Kent, Vanderbilt
RS – Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee