Five Vols invited to Medal of Honor Bowl

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- Tennessee seniors Alex Bullard, Rajion Neal, Michael Palardy, Dontavis Sapp and Marlon Walls have been invited to play in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl on Jan. 11, 2014 in Charleston, S.C. The game will be played at Johnson Hagood Stadium on the campus of The Citadel.

Bullard played in all 12 games and started 11 at left guard in 2013. Since transferring back home to play at Tennessee in 2011, Bullard played in all 36 games, making 25 starts. The Nashville native was a versatile lineman, who also saw time as a tight end in 2012. As a senior, Bullard helped the Vols to 2,261 rushing yards in 2013, the most by UT since 2004. With Bullard, the Vols’ offensive line allowed just 23 sacks over the last two years, including just eight in 2012, the fourth fewest in the NCAA at 0.67 per game.

Neal ran for 1,124 yards as a senior, scoring a team-best 12 touchdowns in 2013. His rushing total was the most by a Vol in a regular-season since 2009 (Montario Hardesty). Neal posted five 100-yard rushing games including a career-high 169 vs. South Alabama. The Fayetteville, Ga., native finished 14th on the career rushing yardage list with 2,163. Overall, he ran for 100 yards or more in seven of his 43 career games with the Vols. That included three SEC games with 100 yards or more (Georgia, 148; Kentucky, 134; Auburn, 124). He also had 66 catches for 626 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

Palardy was a standout specialist for the Vols in 2013 handling all three kicking duties (one of only seven in the FBS to do so). He was named an All-SEC honorable mention punter after posting a 44.5 average on 63 punts in 2013. A Ray Guy Semifinalist, Palardy led the nation in punts inside the 20-yard line with 33. He also had 19 punts of 50 or more yards, the most by a Vol in 10 years. As a kicker, Palardy made 14-of-17 field goals and 34-of-35 extra points for 76 points.
The Coral Springs, Fla., native finished second in career punting average at Tennessee with 42.9 mark. He was third in field goal percentage, making 37-of-50 for 74.0 percent. His 37 made field goals ranked seventh all-time at UT.

Sapp had his finest season as a senior linebacker in 2013. The Valdosta, Ga., native started all 12 games and made 66 tackles, to rank third on the team in stops. He was second on the squad in tackles for loss with 8.0. He also had four passes defended, three quarterback hurries and a team-best three fumble recoveries. Sapp made a career-high nine tackles at Missouri and Florida in 2013. In his four-year career, Sapp made 108 tackles in 47 games with 11.5 TFLs and five fumble recoveries.

Walls had a strong year on the defensive line playing in 11 games. Of his 20 tackles, 7.5 were for a loss including 4.5 sacks. Walls' sack total was second-best on the Vols in 2013 and his TFL total was third. He had the best game of his career in the Vols' upset of #11 South Carolina as he posted 2.5 sacks. In his career, Walls played in 40 games, making 57 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks.

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