In just two seasons at Tennessee, Eric Berry has already cemented himself as one of the best players in school history. He's one of - if not the - best defensive player in the country, and his next interception return could make him the NCAA’s career leader for interception return yardage.
He’s the returning SEC defensive player of the year, and one of the most versatile defensive backs around.
Here are five plays that show why:
Taking Back Tebow
Sept. 15, 2007
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Berry's first career interception served notice that the true freshman was every bit as good as advertised. In the third quarter of his first trip to the Swamp, Berry grabbed a pass from Tim Tebow - who would win the Heisman Trophy that year - at the UT 4-yard line. Berry took off downfield, cut back on Tebow and went 96 yards for a touchdown in just the third game of his college career.
How's that for foreshadowing?
'Er-ic Ber-ry,' 'Er-ic, Ber-ry'
Oct. 18, 2008
You know it's a big play when they turn it into a ringtone. In the third quarter of a 13-3 game, Berry picked off a pass from Mississippi State's Tyson Lee.
Showing tremendous balance near the UT 30-yard line, he outraced everyone 72 yards to the end zone for his second career touchdown.
Not only did the play spark an eventual rout, it also had fans chanting Berry's name. The pick set a new SEC record for career interception return yardage just 21 games into his career.
Oct. 25, 2008
Berry is one of the fiercest hitters in the college game.
This one is one of the most memorable.
In an otherwise forgettable game for the Vols, Berry drilled Tide receiver Marquis Maze as he turned upfield after catching a pass over the middle. Berry connected with Maze's right shoulder, and Maze went flying. And took a merry-go-round spin.
Before hitting the turf, Maze turned a complete 360 degrees in the air. No word whether Maze remembers the play.
Shake It Off, Knowshon
Oct. 11, 2008
Two of the SEC's premier players collided, and one of them had to leave the game.
It wasn't Berry.
Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno took a pitch to the left side of the line midway through the fourth quarter. Moreno, a first-round pick in April's draft, broke a tackle before Berry launched himself at the shifty tailback near the Bulldogs' sideline.
The noise - and the hit - were brutal. Berry popped right up, while Moreno spent the next seven plays on the sideline.
Last Ditch Effort
Oct. 27, 2007
This would have been Berry's second career touchdown, if not for a facemask by South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley.
After corralling a fumble, Berry avoided at least three tacklers and took off down the sideline. He made it all the way to the 4-yard line before Smelley yanked Berry's facemask to keep him from reaching the end zone.
No worries. The Vols took over at the 2-yard line and scored three plays later.