Many football observers – fans and media members alike – wrote off the Tennessee Volunteers for 2019 when UT started the season 1-4. Jeremy Pruitt’s squad turned things around, and now at, 7-5 are heading to the Gator Bowl.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was impressed that the Volunteers did not give up on the season. He awarded UT his “Team Perseverance” award during “The Herbies” on Sunday, per GoVols247.

“They started 1-4,” Herbstreit said in his annual awards show. “We talked about that loss to Georgia State. They get blown out by Florida and Georgia. They won six of their last seven, including the last five in a row. They finished 7-5. Jeremy Pruitt is starting to put it together.”

Herbstreit’s “College GameDay” colleague Rece Davis joined him for the show. Davis also had high praise for the Vols.

“I can’t think of a better winner than the Big Orange because not only after that bad start not only were the natives restless,” Davis said. “There was talk about will Phil Fulmer take over mid-season. Jeremy Pruitt in over his head. All kinds of quarterback changes. Jarrett Guarantano comes back in and plays much better later in the year. Tennessee is well-deserving of that.”

Tennessee will try to start the 2020 calendar year on a high note with a win over Indiana. The game is set for Jan. 2 and will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.