Tennessee Vols in the Super Bowl
Ayers was a huge coup in UT’s 2004 class when he committed on Feb. 3, the day before National Signing Day. Ayers, who was from Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro High, took official visits to Florida and South Carolina. He had strong interest from several other schools, notably Florida State and North Carolina State.
Ayers was a backup until his senior season in 2008. He began his UT career at outside linebacker but was moved to defensive end as a sophomore. He recorded 25 tackles and a sack in 2006 and led the Vols with four sacks and 12 tackles or a loss in 2007. In his one season as a starter, Ayers recorded 49 tackles, three sacks and a team leading 15 1/2 tackles for a loss, mostly at right defensive end.
It was a bit surprising when Ayers was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos with the 18th overall pick. However, Ayers ability to play defensive end as well as outside linebacker made him an intriguing prospect for any team that ran a 3-4 base defense. In his rookie season, Ayers recorded 19 tackles. His first sack came during his second season in 2010. Sack-wise, Ayers has had his best season with 5 1/2 sacks in 2013. He has said moving from outside linebacker to defensive end, which he has said he is his preferred position. For his career, Ayers has 102 career tackles, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. In Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots, Ayers registered a sack.