KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday that Tennessee football seniors Paxton Brooks and Matthew Butler have been named to the Academic All-District 3 First Team. Both Tennessee graduates have received the honor in each of the last three seasons, recognizing their combined success on the field and in the classroom.
Selected by CoSIDA members, Academic All-District 3 honorees represent NCAA Division I programs from the states of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. First‐team Academic All‐District selections advance to the CoSIDA Academic All‐America ballot. First‐ and second‐team Academic All‐America honorees will be announced in mid‐December.
Brooks and Butler are both Tennessee’s first three-time Academic All-District selections. The duo has been recognized on the 2019, 2020 and 2021 District 3 First Teams and both are seeking their first Academic All-America distinction.
A senior punter from Lexington, South Carolina, Brooks needed just three years to complete his undergraduate degree, receiving his bachelor’s in kinesiology in May 2021. He maintained a 3.92 undergrad GPA and is currently rounding out his first semester of grad school, pursuing a master’s in kinesiology with a biomechanics concentration.
Brooks has played all 10 games for the Vols this season and rankings third in the SEC in punting average (44.8). The 2021 Ray Guy Award watch list member has booted 11 punts of 50 yards or more in 2021, including a career-high 64-yarder in the season opener vs. Bowling Green, and has pinned 13 punts inside the 20-yard line this season.
Now in his fifth year with the Tennessee football program, Butler earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in December 2020 with a 3.63 undergraduate GPA. He is now working to complete his master’s in political science and boasts a 3.70 GPA in grad school. The super senior defensive lineman is a recipient of the 2021 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was one of two Tennessee representatives nominated for the 2020-21 SEC McWhorter Award that is presented annually to the conference’s top scholar-athletes.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native has started nine of 10 games this season and ranks third on the team in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (4.0). His last five games—all in SEC play—have been especially productive, as Butler has tallied 22 tackles, four sacks, 5.5 TFLs, four QB hurries and one forced fumble during that span.