Tennessee’s offensive line has often been criticized in recent seasons, and for good reason. But this year the Vols will field an experienced line with much higher expectations, and among the Big Uglies in the trenches will be an Outland Trophy candidate in offensive tackle Dallas Thomas.
Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound senior from Baton Rouge, is one of 71 interior linemen included in the Outland Watch List.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Thomas has started every game of the past two seasons – 25 consecutive starts. Last year he was an integral part of a line that limited opposing defenses to 18 sacks, third in the defensive-minded SEC.
Earlier this week QB Tyler Bray and WR Da’ Rick Rogers were named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is given to college football’s most outstanding player.
The Vols kick off the 2012-13 season against North Carolina State in Atlanta on Aug. 31.