When fall camp begins on Aug. 1, Tennessee football head coach Butch Jones is going to be looking for a few gaps to be filled, but there are enough quality players that the Volunteers should feel good about the program’s depth.
That doesn’t mean opportunities to make an impression will be scarce.
At this time last season, nobody expected punter Trevor Daniel or nickelback Malik Foreman to play significant roles on the 2015 Vols, but both wound up being integral parts to a team that wound up finishing 9-4 and taking an important leap.
Who are the surprise candidates on this year’s Vols? There are more than a few options.
From open positions in the two-deep across the defensive line to important voids that must be plugged in the wide receiving corps, UT needs to find some pivotal playmakers beyond the top level of stars who they know can be relied upon.
After all, players such as Joshua Dobbs, Jalen Hurd, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton can’t make all the plays themselves.
“We still only have 11 seniors on our football team, but we do have experience because a lot of these youngsters were forced to play early as true freshmen,” Jones said on ESPN’s Car Wash on Monday (via SEC Country’s Jesse Simonton). “As we know, there’s no substitute for experience, especially in the Southeastern Conference.”
This is the year where all of Jones’ recruiting successes need to show they’re capable of taking Tennessee to an elite level in the nation’s top conference. All those recruiting stars look good on paper, but if they don’t show up with games on the line, none of that matters.
With fall camp a little more than two weeks away, let’s take a look at some Vols who are sure to surprise once the pads go on.
Source: Bleacher Report CFB