Detailed Analysis: Evan Berry emerges as standout kick returner
Evan Berry became the latest member of Tennessee’s favorite family to enjoy a breakthrough season. Like his father and brother before him, the freshman emerged as a solid contributor for the Vols in his role as the team’s top kick returner.
Berry’s 29.5 return yard average was second in the SEC. The Fairburn, Ga., native recorded 413 yards on 14 kickoff returns and averaged 34.4 yards per game.
Berry’s best return of the season came against Chattanooga in Week 7. The freshman took the opening kickoff of the second half 68 yards, setting up a 19-yard touchdown pass by Justin Worley to Jonathon Johnson. Berry recorded a season-best 121 yards on four returns during Tennessee’s loss to Missouri.
CAMERON SUTTON HAS WHEELS
Cameron Sutton was one of the key contributors to Tennessee’s defensive improvement in 2014. The cornerback, who has started in every game since enrolling at UT in 2013, tied for second on the team with three interceptions and was fourth in the SEC with 14 passes defended.
But Sutton also contributed on special teams as the Vols’ punt returner. The sophomore had 146 yards and a touchdown on 13 punt returns. Sutton had a 76-yard return for a touchdown against Vanderbilt, the first Tennessee player to return a punt for a touchdown since Cordarrelle Patterson in 2012.
VOLS KEEP OPPONENTS OUT OF THE END ZONE
Tennessee managed to keep its opponents out of the end zone on special teams. The Vols ranked No. 9 in punt return defense and held opponents to a 3.1 return average. Opponents were held to 66 yards on 21 attempts. Tennessee held six opponents to single digit totals in punt return yards.
The Vols also ranked No. 33 overall in kick return defense. Tennessee held opponents to a 19.6 return average and allowed 940 yards on 48 attempts. The Vols also held nine opponents to less than 100 kickoff return yards, including a season-best 28 yards allowed against Chattanooga.