MARTIN, Tenn. – A total of seven University of Tennessee at Martin football players have been honored in Phil Steele’s 2013 College Football Preview magazine, which will be released on newsstands later this month.
In the issue, UT Martin linebacker Ben Johnson, defensive end DJ Roberts, offensive tackle Charles Sweeton and kick returner Kevin Barfield are named to the preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference first teams. Meanwhile, wide receiver Jeremy Butler, center Tyler Eady and punter James Satterfield received preseason All-OVC second team mentions in the magazine.
Johnson was named to the Preseason Football Championship Subdivision All-American fourth team on defense and was also named to the FCS Top 150 players heading into the season. In the article highlighting Johnson, the magazine mentions that the redshirt senior “appears ready for a monster year” after an All-OVC first team performance in 2012. The 6-2, 235-pound Primm Springs, Tenn. native recorded 131 tackles last season, leading the OVC while ranking sixth in the nation in tackles per game (11.91).
A Knoxville, Tenn. native, Roberts is coming off an All-OVC second team defense mention in 2012. The 6-2, 245-pound redshirt senior ranked third in the OVC in tackles for loss (11.5) last season as part of a 53-tackle campaign. He also added 11 quarterback hurries, 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season.
Sweeton, a 6-5, 291-pound redshirt junior out of Lawrenceburg, Tenn. started in all 11 games last season, extending his consecutive starts streak to 21 on the offensive line. Last season, he helped the Skyhawk offense rank in the top-25 nationally in passing offense (299.55 yards per game), scoring offense (33.55 points per game) and total offense (427.45 yards per game).
Wrapping up Phil Steele’s preseason All-OVC first team list was Barfield, a senior from Memphis, Tenn. He ranked second in the OVC in kick return average (24.5 yards) in 2012, gaining 711 yards overall in 29 returns. The 5-9, 167-pound speedster accounted for one touchdown off a kick return last season – a 93-yard dash against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 6.
Butler burst onto the scene in his debut season as a Skyhawk in 2012, accumulating 10 touchdowns – all against OVC squads. Overall, the 6-3, 205-pound senior out of Bradenton, Fla. hauled in 51 catches for 750 yards and led the league with three multi-touchdown games on his way to OVC All-Newcomer accolades last season.
A mainstay on the UT Martin offensive line for the last three seasons, the 6-2, 270-pound Eady has started all 33 games at center in his collegiate career. The Smyrna, Tenn. product has helped mold the Skyhawk offensive line into one of the best in the conference, conceding just 39 sacks in three years while the offense has tallied 118 touchdowns in that span.
Satterfield was named the ninth best returning punter in the nation by the preview magazine. The 6-1, 171-pound Gallatin, Tenn. native snagged All-OVC second team accolades last season after ranking second in the league with a 42.5 average (1,744 yards on 41 punts). He boomed seven punts of 50-plus yards, including the two longest punts in the OVC (a 73-yard punt at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 10 and a 70-yard punt against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 29).
UT Martin opens its fall camp on Aug. 2 and officially opens its season at Chattanooga on Aug. 29.