KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee football team set a school record with four Vols collecting CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honors this fall, the most of any Power 5 program.
Redshirt senior offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, redshirt junior offensive lineman Ryan Johnson, junior defensive lineman Matthew Butler and sophomore punter/kicker Paxton Brooks were selected for the honor in District 3 by CoSIDA this month. The award recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.
Tennessee’s quartet is eligible to be named Academic All-Americans this season, as well.
Johnson was selected to the All-District First Team for the second straight season, making him only the third Vol ever to receive the honor in back-to-back years, joining holder Parker Henry (2016-17) and quarterback Peyton Manning (1996-97). Kicker Daniel Lincoln also won the award twice, but not in consecutive seasons (2007, 2009).
Overall, Tennessee now has 32 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
Tennessee’s previous school-record for most All-District winners was three in 2016. The Academic All-District Team has been recognized since at least 1956.
Brooks, who holds a 3.98 GPA and is majoring in Kinesiology, was selected for the First Team as a specialist.
Kennedy holds a 3.84 GPA while working on his master’s degree in sports psychology and motor behavior. He is set to graduate in December and will have a sixth year of eligibility remaining. Kennedy earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation and sports management from Alabama in three years before transferring to Tennessee.
Kennedy is the Vols’ starting center and is the only Vol to start every game on the offensive line. He captured SEC Offensive Line of the Week honors following a dominant performance against South Carolina in October and has paved the way for UT’s offensive success with four different players lining up at quarterback this fall.
Johnson is an All-District First Team honoree for a second consecutive season. He has a 3.88 GPA while working on his master’s in structural engineering after graduating in three years with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Johnson has appeared in every game this season while making three starts at guard. He was also chosen to be in this year’s VOLeaders Academy class.
Butler holds a 3.64 GPA and is majoring in political science. He is a member of the VOLeaders Academy and traveled to Rwanda this summer as part of community service and educational trip with the program.
Student-athletes eligible for Academic All-District status are those holding a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 (on a 4.0 scale). Nominees must also have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution and have completed at least one calendar year at the institution.