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Tennessee Athletics photo by Caleb Jones / Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia made 23 of 27 field-goal attempts last season, including efforts from 51 and 53 yards.

"Automaglia."

Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia is well aware of the nickname entering his senior season with the Volunteers, and though it's a flattering moniker, he will just continue to let others use it. The 6-foot, 210-pounder from Nashville has been automatic on extra-point attempts throughout his college career, having made all 69 tries since becoming a freshman starter in 2017, and he is getting closer and closer to perfection in the field-goal department as well.

"It's a cool name, but I want to be something more than just a nickname or a saying," Cimaglia said on a recent Zoom call. "I want to go out there for a bigger reason and a bigger purpose, so I kind of don't dive into all that stuff. It's more about the 'Power T' on the jersey than the last name."

On a Vols roster that has quality experience returning at every position group, Cimaglia takes a back seat to nobody.

Cimaglia arguably produced the finest 2019 season of any Tennessee player, making 23 of 27 field-goal attempts, including kicks from 51 and 53 yards. His success rate of 85.2% led all Southeastern Conference kickers with more than 20 attempts, and his 23 makes rank third in Tennessee single-season history behind Fuad Reveiz's 27 in 1982 and Carlos Reveiz's 24 in 1985.

Last year's showing resulted in Cimaglia becoming a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, and he is Phil Steele's preseason All-SEC kicker for 2020. Cimaglia said he made a 60-yard kick inside Neyland Stadium a couple of weeks ago and added that Vols third-year coach Jeremy Pruitt knows where the specialist stands when it comes to range.

"I tell Coach Pruitt every game, 'Cross the 50, and I'm good. I want to attempt it,'" said Cimaglia, who is 41-of-53 (77.4%) on career field-goal attempts. "For me, each year I've wanted to improve on something, whether it's the distance, accuracy or consistency. I'm confident in our field-goal unit that from snap to hold we'll get it down, and that wherever we attempt it, we'll make it."

The perennial SEC Academic Honor Roll selection was 3-of-4 from 50 yards or longer last season, and he was 13-of-17 from 40 yards or longer the past two seasons. His 53-yarder against the University of Alabama at Birmingham last November marked Tennessee's longest kick since Jeff Hall drilled a 53-yarder in 1995, and Cimaglia ended last season by going 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts and 2-for-2 on extra-point tries during the 23-22 Gator Bowl topping of Indiana.

Cimaglia isn't resting on those numbers, just like he hasn't adopted "Automaglia," and he enters his final autumn in Knoxville without a favorite career kick.

"I have the same mentality for each field goal," he said. "I just want to make it."

 

Big movers

The Vols jumped from No. 25 in the Associated Press preseason poll to No. 15 on Sunday, with the second AP poll removing those teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences that elected last month not to play football this fall.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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