The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever

Over 1.5K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever
Voting Rules
Vote up all of your favorite Volunteer players of all time.

The Tennessee Volunteers are one of the most successful teams in NCAA history. Their 49 bowl appearances (3rd all time), 25 bowl game victories (6th all time), 16 conference championships, and six national championships leave little room for arguing with the program's greatness.

Team sports aren't about the individual, but here is a list of the best Vols to ever lace 'em up and help make the program the legend that it is today.

Upvote your pick for the best Volunteer of all time!
Ranked by
  • Peyton Manning
    916 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Age: 47
    • Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos

    One of the most intelligent and precise quarterbacks to ever grace the gridiron, Peyton Manning orchestrated the University of Tennessee's offense with unmatched poise and proficiency. Manning’s pre-snap recognition and lightning-fast decisions earned him the moniker "The Sheriff," as he patrolled the field with an unrelenting sense of authority. His exceptional football IQ and extraordinary leadership skills were particularly evident during Tennessee's thrilling 1997 SEC Championship victory, a testament to his enduring legacy with the Volunteers.

  • Reggie White
    Defensive tackle, Defensive end
    758 votes
    • Birthplace: Tennessee, Chattanooga, USA
    • Age: Dec. at 43 (1961-2004)
    • Teams: Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Volunteers football, Memphis Showboats

    Known as the "Minister of Defense" for his ferocity on the field and his devout faith off it, Reggie White terrorized opposing quarterbacks and their offensive lines with his unparalleled blend of size, strength, and speed. White's relentless pursuit of the ball carrier and his never-ending motor instilled fear in the hearts of his opponents, making him a force no team could ever fully contain. The impact of White's unyielding spirit and passion for the game can still be felt today, as countless defensive linemen aspire to emulate this fearsome icon of University of Tennessee football.

  • Eric Berry
    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back
    642 votes
    • Birthplace: Fairburn, Georgia
    • Age: 34
    • Teams: Tennessee Volunteers football, Kansas City Chiefs

    Eric Berry displayed a breathtaking combination of instincts, athleticism, and versatility during his tenure as a Volunteer, making him a constant threat whether he was intercepting passes, tackling ball carriers, or returning kicks. Berry's remarkable ability to diagnose plays before they unfolded left fans and opposing teams alike awestruck, as his seemingly preternatural understanding of the game put him several steps ahead of the competition. With his inspirational battle against cancer and subsequent return to the NFL, Berry has further solidified himself as one of the most courageous and talented players to ever hail from the University of Tennessee.

  • Jason Witten
    Tight end
    596 votes
    • Birthplace: Elizabethton, Tennessee, USA
    • Age: 41
    • Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders

    A reliable and tenacious competitor, Jason Witten consistently outperformed expectations during his time at Tennessee, setting new standards for tight ends with his exemplary route running, blocking, and sure-handed catches. Witten's unwavering work ethic and fierce determination to maximize his potential made him an invaluable asset to the Volunteers' offense. His ability to come through in clutch situations and be a steadfast presence on the field earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike.

  • Al Wilson
    429 votes
    • Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee
    • Age: 46

    As a passionate and vocal leader of Tennessee's defense, Al Wilson instilled confidence and discipline in his fellow Volunteers, making his presence on the field felt by every opponent. Wilson's aggressive, hard-hitting playstyle struck fear into the hearts of ball carriers, while his keen football IQ and play-recognition skills allowed him to direct and unify his teammates. The indomitable spirit and immense contributions of Wilson are still celebrated today, as he remains a beloved figure among Tennessee football fans.

  • Doug Atkins
    Defensive end
    327 votes
    • Birthplace: Tennessee, USA, Humboldt
    • Age: 93

    Doug Atkins' imposing 6-foot-8 frame, coupled with his unparalleled athleticism, allowed him to dominate the line of scrimmage as a fearsome defensive end for the Volunteers. His remarkable combination of size, speed, and strength made Atkins nearly unblockable, as he disrupted offensive game plans with regularity. To this day, Atkins is looked upon as a pioneering figure and role model for generations of menacing pass rushers who hope to follow in his footsteps.