Freshmen Ford (VT) and Berry (UT) Create Name for Themselves As Players to Watch for Battle At Bristol
Younger brother of Tennessee All-American Eric Berry, son of former Volunteer running back James Berry and currently sharing the field with twin brother Elliott Berry, defensive back Evan Berry is already a University of Tennessee legacy.
The 5-foot-11 defensive back was one of a school record 21 true freshmen to debut in the Volunteers season-opening win against Utah State and recorded the first two tackles of his career in last Saturday's game against SEC East rival, the University of Georgia.
Berry, who wears No. 29 in tribute to former Tennessee cornerback Inky Johnson, has seen playing time in all of the Volunteer's 2014 contests, handling some kick returns and playing as a reserve in the secondary.
While the 4-star high school recruit acknowledges the notoriety accompanying his heritage, he claims it has no bearing on his on-field performance.
"I don't really experience any pressure," said the Fairburn, Ga. native in an interview with USA Today. "My dad told me that I'm the only person that can put pressure on myself. It's just playing football, doing what I love, so the last-name thing, it doesn't really put pressure on me."
Regardless of how the box scores compare after the young back finishes his time at Tennessee, Berry and his twin brother will each boast an achievement never accomplished by their predecessors - the opportunity to be part of college football's largest game at the Sept. 10, 2016 Battle at Bristol.
Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford received high praise from Head Coach Frank Beamer even before the freshman played his first game as a Hokie.
"Maybe an Antonio Freeman?" said Beamer when asked to which of his former receivers Ford would compare. "He makes plays. He's got some height to him."
Early in 2014, Ford has lived up to the hype. Leading the team with 260 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, the 6-foot-1, 174 pound Jacksonville, Fla. native was the first Hokie receiver to surpass 100 yards this season.
Currently ranked fourth in the nation for receptions by freshmen receivers at 21, Ford is on pace to break the Hokies' single-season reception record held by Jarrett Boykin at 61. However, the young player has set loftier goals for his debut season.
"As for my personal goals this season, I want to be a freshman All-American," he said in an interview with the Daily Press. "I also want to score double-digit touchdowns. I'm very serious about that."
While Ford is serious about carving his name into the Hokie history books, he and his young teammates are set to be part of another record-setting event when they meet the Tennessee Volunteers in college football's largest game - the Sept. 10, 2016 Battle at Bristol.