The University of Tennessee official football roster was updated on Tennessee’s official website last week. While it is not the final roster for the 2013 season, it does help us analyze, and over-analyze, the possible depth chart.
Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman, Joshua Dobbs, and Riley Ferguson will all compete for the starting job. Justin Worley, a junior, is the only quarterback on the roster with any game experience, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the leader for the job.
Redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman pushed Worley during the summer and will continue to do so throughout the fall. Freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson were both Elite 11 quarterback’s in high school and are looking to come in and secure the spot for themselves. The other quarterback’s on the roster are freshman Charlie High, redshirt freshman Joe Stocstill, and redshirt junior Tyler Page.
The bulk of the carries will go to senior Rajion Neal and junior Marlin Lane. Redshirt freshman Aldin Hill could see some snaps, as he had a very solid spring. Redshirt sophomore Tom Smith, redshirt Junior DeAnthonie Summerhill, redshirt junior Austin Bolen, and redshirt senior Reggie Juin round out the running back group. Depending on the waiver process, Maryland transfer Justus Pickett could become eligible to play immediately.
The talented and young wide receiver corps features a trio of large targets in freshman Marquez North, freshman Paul Harris, and redshirt freshman Jason Croom. Redshirt junior Jacob Carter, junior Vincent Dallas, and junior Devrin Young will provide some leadership. Sophomore Pig Howard, redshirt freshman Drae Bowles, and freshman Ryan Jenkins have great potential to be electric playmakers. Sophomore Cody Blanc, freshman Josh Smith, sophomore Jonathon Johnson, redshirt senior Tyler Dummer, redshirt sophomore Brett Parisi, and redshirt junior Dylan West will add depth and possibly find time on special teams.
Junior Brendan Downs, junior Woody Quinn, sophomore Justin King, freshman A.J. Branisel, and redshirt freshman Justin Merideth will compete for time heading into the season. Redshirt junior Dakota Summers, redshirt sophomore Alex Ellis, and redshirt senior Joseph Ayers are the other tight end’s on the roster.
The best unit on the Volunteer roster is the offensive line. Left tackle Antonio “Tiny” Richardson is an All-American candidate and could forego his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL draft. Senior right tackle Ja’Wuan James, senior guard Zach Fulton, junior guard Marcus Jackson, and senior center James Stone fill out one of the best starting offensive lines in the country. Redshirt sophomore Kyler Kerbyson, redshirt sophomore Alan Posey, redshirt junior Marques Pair, redshirt senior Alex Bullard, and redshirt sophomore Mack Crowder provide a solid, yet inexperienced second team. Freshman Brett Kendrick, freshman Austin Sanders, redshirt junior Jacom Gilliam, freshman Dylan Wiesman, and redshirt freshman John Simcox round out the offensive line unit.
The defensive line is highly experienced and should be the stabilizing force for the defense. Senior defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is a potential first round draft pick and All-SEC performer. Redshirt senior Maurice Couch, redshirt senior Daniel Hood, redshirt senior Marlon Walls, senior Corey Miller, senior Jacques Smith, and junior Jordan Williams provide plenty of leadership. Freshman Corey Vereen, redshirt freshman LaTroy Lewis, freshman Jason Carr, redshirt sophomore Allan Carson, and redshirt sophomore Trevarris Saulsberry could be big contributors. Freshman Malik Brown, freshman Jaylen Miller, redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien, redshirt freshman Charles Folger, and redshirt junior Gregory Clark will provide depth. Incoming freshman Kendall Vickers is not yet in school or signed, thus not on the official roster.
The linebacker unit is paced by potential All-American A.J. Johnson. The junior led the Vols with 138 tackles in 2012. Junior Curt Maggitt is coming off an ACL injury and could take some time to regain his full range and ability. Seniors Dontavis Sapp, Raiques Crump, John Propst, Brent Brewer, Channing Fugate, and Greg King will help with experience. Redshirt freshman Kenny Bynum, redshirt freshman Christian Harris, redshirt sophomore Michael Cantwell, and redshirt freshman Nickolay Timoshchuk are also on the roster.
The defensive backfield for the Vols will need to step up after a lackluster 2012 season. Redshirt senior Safety Byron Moore, redshirt sophomore Safety Brian Randolph, sophomore Safety LaDarrell McNeil, junior Cornerback Riyahd Jones, junior Cornerback Justin Coleman, junior Cornerback Jaron Toney, freshman Safety Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and senior Safety Naz Oliver will be patrolling the secondary.
Freshmen Cameron Sutton, Malik Foreman, and Devan Swafford could push for playing time if they aren’t redshirted. Redshirt sophomore Geraldo Orta, sophomore Max Arnold, redshirt freshman Tino Thomas, freshman David Priddy, redshirt junior Tyler Coombes, and redshirt freshman Michael Williams will proved depth. Redshirt senior Eric Gordon is on the official roster, but there is speculation he will not be around in the fall.
Senior Kicker Michael Palardy will likely enter the season as the main kicker and punter on the roster. Redshirt junior Derrick Brodus and redshirt freshman George Bullock are waiting in the wings if Palardy under performs. Redshirt freshman Ryan Ault and redshirt sophomore Patrick Toole are the other Kickers. Redshirt junior Matt Darr is the back-up Punter and should get some opportunities. Freshman Punter Trevor Daniel, redshirt Long Snapper Matt Giampapa, redshirt senior Long Snapper J.R. Carr, and redshirt sophomore Andrew Henry fill out the roster.