Eric Berry’s Heisman Campaign
This was one of the websites that was created for Eric Berry's long shot 2009 Heisman bid. We have added additional information to bring the Eric Berry story up to the present.
Some sports fans feel that there's really only one candidate outside of the usual circle of skill players from the mythical championship contenders (you know who I mean: the usual and soul crushingly obvious clean-cut quarterback club) and that's Berry.
In addition of showing up all over the field for one of the best defenses in the country, Eric Berry led the nation’s college teams with seven picks, two returned for touchdowns, and already has the SEC's career record for interception return yardage in two years.
Eric Berry’s College Career
Berry received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee. He played for the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 2007 to 2009. Berry's relatives would travel to Tennesse to see him play. One cousin who lived in Baltimore worked for a company, Von Paris Moving & Storage that moved many professional sports teams. It is considered to be one the best Baltimore City movers . In fact they were named the official Mover of the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens. When Berry was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs, his cousin admitted that he felt conflicted when the Kansas City Chiefs played the Baltimore Ravens, his home team now that his cousin Eric was back playing defense for the Kansas City Chiefs. His mama declared that family was more important, and he just better support his cousin. End of discussion!
In 2007 after a strong showing in his first collegiate game against California as a freshman, Berry replaced fifth year senior Jarod Parrish. His first season saw Berry turning in several big plays during the season. The Sporting News named Berry the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year. Looking at just some of his stats you can see why.
- 222 return yards on five interceptions breaking the 37-year-old Tennessee record by 43 yards
- Led all SEC freshmen in tackles with 86.
- Named SEC Freshman of the Week for his play over the regular season's final three games.
- After the season, he was also named 1st team Freshman All-American by Rivals.
Berry was named a team captain heading into the 2008 season. His stats for his sophomore season were even more impressive:
- Tied for the national lead in interceptions with 7, returning them for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns, This broke the record he set his freshman yea..
- Combined with the yards he accumulated as a freshman, Berry set the all-time career SEC record for interception return yards with 487 yards
- Finished the regular season with 72 tackles, 6 pass break-ups and 3 sacks.
- Took snaps on offense at quarterback and wide receiver gaining44 rushing yards on 7 carries.
- Gained 32 yards on 2 kick-off returns.
He was nominated as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the Lott Trophy, as well as the Chuck Bednarik Award.
In addition Berry was named:
- SEC Defensive Player of the year
- Was a first-team All-SEC pick
- Was an unanimous first-team All American
The Touchdown Club of Columbus also named him their winner of the 2008 Jack Tatum Award
No wonder the Tennessee Vols football coach and sports department decided to build an Eric Berry's Heisman campaign. They all felt he was a worthy candidate.
College Awards and Honors
- 2009 Unanimous All-American
- 2000s ESPN All-Decade High School Football Team
- 2000s RivalsHigh.com Team Of The Decade First Team
- 2000s Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team
- 2009 Jim Thorpe Award
- 2009 Bronko Nagurski Award Finalist
- 2009 Lott Award Finalist
- 2009 Jack Tatum Award Winner
- 2009 First-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP)
- 2008 Unanimous All-American
- 2008 National Defensive Sophomore of the Year (Collegefootballnews.com)
- 2008 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2008 Jack Tatum Award Winner
- 2008 First-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP)
- 2008 Vince Dooley Award 2008 Jim Thorpe Award Finalist
- Unanimous 2007 First-team Freshman All-American
- 2007 National Defensive Freshman of the Year (Collegefootballnews.com)
- 2007 SEC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year (Sporting News)
- 2007 Second-team All-SEC (Coaches, AP)
- 2007 All-SEC Freshmen Team
- 2007 All-SEC Freshmen Academic Honor Roll
- 2006 Georgia High School Player of the Year (Gatorade)
Eric Berry didn’t make the cut as a Heisman finalist. Such disappointment considering he was he was a two-time unanimous All-American and recognized as the best collegiate defensive back in the country.
Among the top players who also didn't make the cut were Clemson's versatile tailback C.J. Spiller along with Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.
The Heisman Finalists 2009 were Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart, Ndamukong Suh. Mark Ingram was the Heisman winner.
Eric Berry’s Professional Career
Following Tennessee's 37–14 loss to Virginia Tech in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl, Eric Berry decided at the end of his 2009 season to forgo his final year at college and enter the NFL draft.
Berry was regarded as the highest scouted safety since Sean Taylor a member of the University of Miami Hurricanes' 2001 BCS National Championship team. The Kansas City Chiefs, a professional American football team in Kansas City, Missouri and a member of the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL), chose Berry. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, making him the highest drafted defensive back since Taylor.
In his first season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Berry started all 16 games, becoming the first Chiefs rookie to be selected to the Pro Bowl. Berry has been named to three Pro Bowls, in 2010, 2012 and 2013 since that auspicious start.
In December of 2014, Eric Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. After undergoing an intense chemotherapy treatment, on July 28, 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that Berry had been cleared to resume football activities. He was declared clear of cancer nearly nine months after his initial diagnosis.