BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Two of the University of Tennessee's three participants at Southeastern Conference media days have been named to preseason national watch lists.
Junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has been named to the Maxwell Award watch list, while senior linebacker Darrell Taylor was named to the Chuck Bednarik preseason watch list.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Guarantano is the first Volunteer quarterback to be given consideration for the award given to America's College Player of the Year since Josh Dobbs in 2016 and the first Vol since John Kelly was added to the watch list midway through the 2017 season.
Vols former quarterback Peyton Manning won the award in 1997.
Guarantano started all 12 games in 2018, throwing for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns with only three interceptions in 2018, including a school-record 166 consecutive passes without an interception. He was named SEC Player of the Week after a 328-yard, two-touchdown effort in Tennessee's 30-24 road upset of No. 21 Auburn, and completed 57 percent of his passes at nine yards per attempt when under pressure according to ESPN.
Taylor is the first Tennessee linebacker to make the Bednarik preseason watch list since Jalen Reeves-Maybin in 2016, but it's the second consecutive season that a Vol has been named to the preseason list as defensive back Nigel Warrior was included prior to last year.
Taylor finished with a team-high eight sacks — the most of any returning SEC player — while adding 11 tackles for loss. Seven of his sacks came in two games: a three-sack effort against Georgia and a four-sack performance in a 24-7 upset of then 11th-ranked Kentucky that earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Tennessee has had three players earn semifinalist honors: linebacker Kevin Burnett (2004), defensive back Eric Berry (2008) and defensive end Derek Barnett (2016).
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