MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin football team produced three 2013 Phil Steele All-Americans, as the publication included Jeremy Butler, Tony Bell and Ben Johnson to its exclusive list that was released on Thursday afternoon.
This marks the fifth time Butler has been hailed as an All-American and the fourth All-American accolade for Bell. With this award, Johnson picks up his first All-American recognition. Butler was named to the third team offense, Bell was selected on the third team defense while Johnson tallied fourth team defense honors.
The 6-2, 208-pound Butler ranked amongst the best wide receivers in Football Championship Subdivision ranks last season. The senior out of Bradenton, Fla. had the sixth-most receiving yards (1,203) and the seventh-most receptions (90) in the nation. Both of those totals were new UT Martin records for a single season. Overall, Butler leaves the Skyhawk program as the career leader with eight 100-yard receiving games while ranking second with 20 touchdown catches. He also ranks in UT Martin’s career record book in receptions (141, third) and receiving yards (1,953, fifth) while setting all of these records in just 22 career games.
Bell emerged as one of the most dominant linebackers in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013. The 6-1, 200-pound junior out of Memphis, Tenn. was tabbed as National Defensive Player of the Week twice while pacing the OVC with 10.5 sacks (seventh nationally) and 15 tackles for loss. He also ranked second in the league in forced fumbles (three), fourth in fumble recoveries (three) and 10th in tackles (80). He was responsible for the most tackles (16 against Murray State), sacks (4.5 against Murray State) and tackles for loss (5.0 at Boise State) in a single game out of any player in the OVC in 2013.
Johnson capped off a remarkable career by leading the OVC in tackles for the second consecutive season. The redshirt senior linebacker out of Primm Springs, Tenn. racked up 102 tackles – paced by five double-digit tackle games. The 6-2, 235-pounder set season-highs with 12 tackles in wins over Central Arkansas and Southeast Missouri while also compiling 12.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception and five passes defended in 2013. Overall, Johnson’s name can be found in seventh place in the UT Martin record books on the career tackles list (330).
Together, these three Skyhawks helped lead UT Martin to a 7-5 overall record in 2013, the fifth winning season in head coach Jason Simpson’s eight-year tenure.