KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee freshman cornerback Bryce Thompson collected Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team honors on Thursday, the league announced, marking the 20th consecutive year UT has placed at least one Vol on the All-Freshman Team.
Thompson had an outstanding first collegiate season, finishing as the highest-graded true freshman cornerback in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus College.
The Irmo, S.C., native appeared in all 12 games with 10 starts, leading the Vols in interceptions (three) and pass breakups (seven). His interception total was tied for third in the SEC and ranked first among league freshmen, while his 10 total passes defended tied for ninth in the league and also led newcomers.
He collected PFF College SEC Defensive Team of the Week honors three times and was named to the PFF College Midseason All-SEC Second Team.
Thompson was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week after totaling two TFLs and an interception versus ETSU in his first-career start on Sept. 8.
Overall, he finished with 34 tackles, four TFLs and one forced fumble (vs. UTEP), and his three interceptions tied for the most by a Vol since Todd Kelly, Jr., also had three in 2014.
Thompson was instrumental in the Vols upset at No. 21 Auburn on Oct. 13, finishing with five tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
In Tennessee’s 24-7 victory over No. 11 Kentucky, Thompson had three pass breakups.
His third-career interception came against Charlotte on Nov. 3.
CALLAWAY SNAGS PFF COLLEGE SEC SECOND TEAM HONOR
Junior wide receiver Marquez Callaway also picked up an honor earlier this week when he was named to the PFF College All-SEC Second Team as a punt returner.
Callaway returned 14 punts for 166 yards and his 11.9 average ranked third in the SEC and 13th nationally. His 82-yard punt return touchdown against Charlotte was the second longest in the SEC this season and 11th longest in the nation.
Callaway’s career punt return average (13.4) is the fourth-highest total among active players in the NCAA. He also had a punt return touchdown in 2016.
The Warner Robins, Ga., native was Tennessee’s most productive wide receiver in 2018 in addition to his punt return success. He led the Vols in receptions (37) and receiving yards (592) and caught two touchdowns.