In the same 2007 recruiting class as Chris Donald was a Vol legacy whose dad had done some good in his time on Rocky Top. James Berry was a running back, but his son Eric Berry played defense back.
And he did it better than anyone in Tennessee history.
At Creekside High School in Fairburn, Georgia, Berry led his team to a 37-5 record as a four-year starting quarterback and safety. He was named an Army All-American, among numerous other honors, and was one of the most aggressively recruited players in the country.
Berry was rated the third-best player in the nation, as well as the top cornerback by both 247sports and Rivals. The future star safety considered Georgia, USC and Ohio State in addition to Tennessee.
In the end, the familiar shade of orange was too much to turn down. His father said of his son's intention to follow in his footsteps, "He'’ll dredge his own path. I guess he gets that from his mother."
Once in Knoxville, Berry started in every game from 2007 to 2009. He was named SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American after setting records for tackles, interceptions and interception returns yards for a freshman.
He was key piece in the 2007 SEC East divisional crown.
As a sophomore, Berry was named a team captain for 2008 after just one season with the Volunteers. He tallied 72 tackles, eight for a loss, three sacks and seven interceptions. He dazzled crowds with his brilliant interception returns, whose career total was now at 487 yards, second-best in NCAA history.
Teams steered clear of passing toward Berry during his junior season. He still intercepted two passes but made his primary contribution as a leader and tackler. He racked up 89 tackles, seven for a loss, while recovering two fumbles.
Berry was named a unanimous All-American for the second straight year and won the Jim Thorpe Award after his junior season. He accrued seven interception yards in 2009, leaving him just eight shy of the all-time NCAA record, which he would've shattered had he not opted for the NFL after his junior season.
Berry was selected fifth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2010 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, the first Chief to do so since 1989, and again in 2012, after missing 2011 with a knee injury.
Eric Berry's hype was spot on. He is the greatest defensive back in Tennessee Volunteers history.