Share “Berry twins keep up family tradition at...”

Berry twins keep up family tradition at Tennessee

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm •  Published: August 23, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee twins Elliott and Evan Berry say they don't feel extra pressure playing defense for the Volunteers, following the path of their older, successful brother.

Eric Berry starred for Tennessee from 2007-09 before getting selected in the first round of the NFL draft. He won the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top college defensive back and earned his third Pro Bowl selection with the Kansas City Chiefs last year.

He left high standards for his younger brothers as they begin their college careers. If that's worrying the Berry twins, they aren't letting it show.

"I don't really see it as a burden," said the 6-foot, 208-pound Elliott Berry. "My dad told me a long time ago that the only time you feel pressure is when you don't know what you're doing."

Their father, James Berry, also has Tennessee roots; he played running back for the Volunteers from 1978-81. The twins are from Fairburn, Georgia, and their knowledge of Tennessee football history is evident from their uniform numbers.

Evan wears No. 29 as a tribute to Inky Johnson, a motivational speaker who suffered nerve damage in his right shoulder while making a tackle in a 2006 Tennessee game. It also happens to be the number Eric wears with the Chiefs. Elliott selected No. 41, reversing the digits of Eric's Tennessee uniform number.

As they get set to make their college debuts Aug. 31 against Utah State, the twins are receiving advice from their famous brother. He sends texts and reminds them to "build your own legacy within the legacy" and to "control what you can control."

"I told them college is going to be a crash course," said Eric Berry, who is 5-foot-11, 211 pounds. "You're going to get some of everything from every aspect of life during those years you're in college. You just have to use what you learn and adjust on the fly. I told them if they handle the stuff off the field, the stuff on the field will just come, so go ahead, get ahead of your schoolwork and make sure your grades are right and eliminate distractions."

The twins, who are rooming together, say they never really considered playing at separate schools.

"It wasn't even an option," Elliott Berry said. "We didn't want our parents to have to go to different games. It's already hard enough, they're going to have to pick when they're going to see our brother (Eric) play and when they're going to see us play. It would have been worse if we'd been at two different colleges."

Continue reading this story on the...