Berry inducted into College Football Hall of Fame

Published 12:28 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Two-time unanimous first-team All-America defensive back Eric Berry of Tennessee was officially enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 65th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday night at ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

Berry was one of 18 first-team All-America players and four standout coaches who were inducted as part the 2023 class. VFL Charles Davis served as the emcee for the event, which drew over 1,600 attendees from across the sport and collegiate athletic space.

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Berry became the 26th Vol to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame and the second in the last three years. Of the 26 honorees, 22 were inducted as players and four as coaches. The 22 players represent the most of any program in the SEC and the eighth-most nationally.

“Just to follow in my father’s footsteps and then have my younger brothers come in and carry on the tradition and the legacy is special,” Berry said on Tuesday. “Being up here and being honored to not only represent my university but my hometown and my family, we do a great job at doing that. Having an example of the former players that came through, especially Al Wilson as well as Peyton Manning, is important. Those were the two guys who set the standard of how you perform at Tennessee. Legacy is everything.”

Berry, a native of Fairburn, Georgia, etched his name among the all-time greats in Tennessee history with his defensive prowess over a three-year stretch from 2007-09 after an All-America career at Creekside High School.

Berry earned unanimous first team All-America honors in 2008, and he repeated the accolade in 2009. He is the only player in school history to achieve that feat twice. In 2009, he became the first player in school history to claim the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back after being a finalist in 2008.

The three-time All-SEC captain culminated his career with 245 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, 14 interceptions, 31 passes defended, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He ranks tied for fifth in UT career picks.


2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class

Eric Berry, Tennessee DB (2007-09)

Michael Bishop, Kansas State QB (1997-98)

Reggie Bush, Southern Cal RB (2003-05)

Monte Cater, Coach Lakeland (WI, 1981-86) and Shepherd (WV (1987-2017)

Dwight Freeney, Syracuse DE (1998-2000)

Robert Gallery, Iowa OT (2000-03)

LaMichael James, Oregon RB (2009-11)

Derrick Johnson, Texas LB (2001-04)

Paul Johnson, Coach Georgia Southern (1997-2001), Navy (2002-07), Georgia Tech (2008-18)

Bill Kollar, Montana State DT (1971-73)

Roy Kramer, Coach Central Michigan (1967-77)

Luke Kuechly, Boston College LB (2009-11)

Jeremy Maclin, Missouri KR/WR (2007-08)

Terance Mathis, New Mexico WR (1985-87, 89)

Bryant McKinnie, Miami OT (2000-01)

Corey Moore, Virginia Tech, DL (1997-99)

Mark Richt, Coach Georgia (2001-15) and Miami (2006-18)

Michael Stonebreaker, Notre Dame LB (1986, 88, 90)

Tim Tebow, Florida QB (2006-09)

Troy Vincent, Wisconsin DB (1998-91)

Brian Westbrook, Villanova RB (1997-98, 2000-01)

DeAngelo Williams, Memphis RB (2002-05)


Tennessee All-Time College Football Hall of Famers

Doug Atkins, T (1985)

Eric Berry, DB (2023)

George Cafego, QB (1969)

Steve DeLong, G (1993)

Doug Dickey, Coach (2003)

Bobby Dodd, QB (1959; elected as a coach at Georgia Tech in 1993)

Nathan Dougherty, T (1967)

Frank Emanuel, LB (2004)

Beattie Feathers, B (1955)

Phillip Fulmer, Coach (2012)

Herman Hickman, G (1959)

Bob Johnson, C (1989)

Chip Kell, G (2006)

Steve Kiner, LB (1999)

Hank Lauricella, TB (1981)

Johnny Majors, TB (1987)

Peyton Manning, QB (2017)

Gene McEver, HB (1954)

John Michels, G (1996)

Ed Molinski, G (1990)

Robert R. Neyland, Coach (1956)

Bob Suffridge, G (1961)

Reggie White, DT (2002)

Al Wilson, LB (2021)

Bowden Wyatt, E (1972)

Bowden Wyatt, Coach (1997)