Cincinnati wide receiver Anthony McClung (6) catches a pass for a touchdown as he's hit by Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph (37) in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 45-23. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
(UNDATED) -- Tennessee freshmen A.J. Johnson and Brian Randolph were named to the Yahoo! Sports Freshman All-America Team on Monday. Johnson earned first-team honors while Randolph made the second team.
Johnson, who was one of four SEC All-Freshman selections on the Vols, posted one of the best rookie seasons in Tennessee history. UT's starting weakside linebacker racked up 80 tackles, the second-most by a UT true freshman all-time, second only to Eric Berry's 86 in 2007. The Gainesville, Ga., native led all SEC freshman in tackles and finished second to Austin Johnson (81) on the team.
He became the only true freshman in Tennessee history to have three double-figure tackle games in his debut season as he piled up 10-plus tackles in three consecutive contests. That trio of games came against No. 1 LSU (11 tackles), No. 2 Alabama (career-high 13 tackles) and No. 14 South Carolina (12 tackles), compiling 36 total tackles in that span.
Johnson was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Alabama. He had 13 tackles, the second-most by a true freshman Vol in history in a single-game. In 2011, Johnson also had 4.5 TFLs, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble playing in all 12 games with 10 starts.
Randolph was also named to the SEC All-Freshman team earlier this month. With Randolph's 55 tackles, the Vols had three of their top five tacklers as true freshman -- the only team in the nation to make such a claim. The safety played in all 12 games, starting eight and finished the year right behind Maggitt, with the fifth-most tackles by a true freshman in Tennessee history.
A native of Kennesaw, Ga., Randolph notched a career-high 12 tackles and a TFL in the season-finale at Kentucky (Nov. 26). Randolph recorded an impressive stretch with 23 tackles against three Top 15 teams in October. Randolph posted nine tackles vs. No. 1 LSU (Oct. 15), eight stops at No. 2 Alabama (Oct. 22) and six tackles along with a forced fumble vs. No. 14 South Carolina (Oct. 29).
With these two honorees, Tennessee has now had 38 all-time Freshman All-Americans dating to 1977. Last season, offensive lineman James Stone was recognized by three outlets as a Freshman All-American.