Berry led the nation with seven interceptions, returning a pair for touchdowns. He also added three sacks and was third on the UT defense in tackles. He also won the Jack Tatum Award, presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio, to the best defensive back in college football.
Vanderbilt earned its first bowl win in 53 years by beating Boston College 16-14 in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. The victory also gave the Commodores a 7-6 record for their first winning season in 26 years.
Johnson shared SEC Coach of the Year honors with Nick Saban of Alabama and Houston Nutt of Ole Miss. He guided the Commodores to their first postseason bowl appearance in 26 years and first bowl win since the 1955 Gator Bowl.
The Commodores¡¯ season was highlighted by four conference victories ¡ª the most by a Vanderbilt squad since the SEC went to divisional play in 1992. The Commodores¡¯ third-place finish in the SEC Eastern Division also is the highest since the move to 12 conference teams 16 years ago. The Commodores also defeated a pair of ranked SEC opponents early in the season, South Carolina and Auburn, marking the first time in team history that a Vanderbilt squad has accomplished the feat. After starting the season 5-0, the Commodores received a No. 13 ranking from the Associated Press. They remained in the Top 25 for four weeks, the longest stretch ever at the school.
Both Berry and Johnson will be honored along with the college basketball players and coaches of the year at the TSWA awards luncheon on July 10 in Hermitage, Tenn.
TSWA names Eric Berry Tennessee Player of the Year
Published: Mon Jan 12, 2009