Tennessee might not be experiencing great success on the football field, but it still can sell recruits on preparing them for the NFL.
My third annual All-SEC NFL team is proof of that.
Seven ex-Vols made the team, which is comprised of former SEC players.
Quarterback — Peyton Manning, Denver.
Manning admits he's not the quarterback he once was after coming back from neck surgery. But try convincing Denver Broncos fans of that. They're thinking Super Bowl, mainly because of Manning's spectacular play, which falls neatly in line with his Hall of Fame career.
Running back — Arian Foster, Houston.
Another ex-Vol, Foster has the Houston Texans in the running for the Super Bowl. He's averaging more than 1,100 yards rushing in his four NFL seasons.
Running back — Stevan Ridley, New England.
The former LSU running back has blossomed in his second season with the New England Patriots. He has rushed for more than 1,600 yards in two NFL seasons — 200 more than he did in his three college seasons.
Wide receiver — A.J. Green, Cincinnati.
After distinguishing himself with acrobatic catches at Georgia, Green easily has made the transition to the NFL. He had 97 catches for 1,350 yards in his second pro season.
Wide receiver — Julio Jones, Atlanta.
Like Green, the former Alabama receiver hasn't missed a beat in moving from the SEC to the NFL. He had 79 catches for 1,198
Tight end — Jason Witten, Dallas.
The former Vol keeps adding to his Hall of Fame credentials. He surpassed the 100-catch mark this season and has had three other seasons with 94 or more pass receptions.
Tackle — Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati.
The 6-foot-7, 335-pound tackle from LSU has been a starter for all seven of his NFL seasons.
Tackle — Andre Smith, Cincinnati.
The former Alabama All-American has been a consistent player the past two seasons after being selected as the sixth pick overall in the 2009 draft.
Guard — Ben Grubbs, New Orleans.
The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, thanks, in part, to the play of the former Auburn star. Grubbs made the Pro Bowl in 2011 in his last season with the Baltimore Ravens.
Guard — Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh.
He wasn't drafted after leaving Tennessee following the 2008 season. But he made the Steelers' team as a free-agent rookie and has been a starter the past two seasons.
Center — Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh.
The former Florida All-American made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season.
Placekicker — Blair Walsh, Minnesota.
The rookie from Georgia has been sensational, hitting 35 of 38 field-goal attempts, including 10 of 10 from 50 yards or farther.
All-purpose — Randall Cobb, Green Bay.
The Knoxville-area native has become one of the most dynamic players in the NFL in just his second season. Cobb, who played college football at Kentucky, had 80 catches for 954 yards and also had a punt return for a touchdown.
End — Chris Clemons, Seattle.
The former Georgia Bulldog has established himself as one of the NFL's best pass rushers. He had 11.5 sacks and forced three fumbles in his ninth pro season.
End — John Abraham, Atlanta.
A 13-year NFL veteran from South Carolina, Abraham still can get to the passer. He had 10 sacks and forced six fumbles this season.
Tackle — Geno Atkins, Cincinnati.
A third-year pro from Georgia, Atkins is now regarded as one of the premier defensive tackles in the NFL. He had 13 sacks, 53 tackles and four forced fumbles.
Linebacker — Von Miller, Denver.
In just his second season, the former Texas A&M star has become one of the league's most feared pass rushers. The Pro Bowler had 18.5 sacks this season.
Linebacker — Jerod Mayo, New England.
The former Vol again ranks among the NFL's top tacklers. He led the Patriots with 147 tackles in another Pro Bowl season.
Linebacker — Patrick Willis, San Francisco.
As good as he was at Ole Miss, he has been even better with the 49ers. He has made all-pro five consecutive seasons.
Linebacker — Wesley Woodyard, Denver.
Underrated at Kentucky, Woodyard has become an integral part of the Broncos' defense. He had 117 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions and a forced fumble.
Cornerback — Tim Jennings, Chicago.
The former Georgia defensive back had a career year with the Bears. He led the NFL with nine interceptions.
Cornerback — Patrick Peterson, Arizona.
The second-year pro from LSU ranked second in the NFL with seven interceptions. Like Jennings, he also made the Pro Bowl.
Safety — Eric Berry, Kansas City.
Manning isn't the only former Vol to make a successful comeback. Berry made the Pro Bowl in his first season back from knee surgery.
Safety — LaRon Landry, New York Jets.
LSU keeps turning out Pro Bowl defensive backs. Landry, who forced four fumbles and intercepted two passes, is one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the league.
Punter — Dustin Colquitt, Kansas City.
The ex-Vol edged his brother, Britton, with a 46.8-yard average per punt for the Chiefs in a Pro Bowl season.
Punt returner — Trindon Holliday, Denver.
A second-year pro from LSU, the 5-foot-5 Holliday averaged better than 10 yards per punt return, including one for a touchdown.
Kick returner — Chris Rainey, Pittsburgh.
The rookie from Florida ranked seventh in the NFL in kickoff returns with a 26.5-yard average.