Eric Berry was a big-time prospect from Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside last season, with most analysts touting him as the nation's best prep defensive back.
Berry, a 5-foot-11, 195-pounder, has lived up to his billing this season for Tennessee. Most analysts thought he would be a lockdown corner, but Berry instead has starred at safety, his high school position.
Berry grew up in an Atlanta suburb, and he put on a show Saturday for the home folks. He had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in a losing effort against LSU in the SEC Championship Game.
"Eric Berry is going to be – if he stays healthy and everything, he's going to be one of the best players to play in the secondary in this league before it's all over with," Vols coach Phillip Fulmer said after Saturday's loss. "He's doing really well and grown up a lot during the course of the year."
Berry heads to the Outback Bowl with 83 tackles, two tackles for loss, five picks, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. His play against the run will be important in the bowl game, when the Vols take on Wisconsin.