Vols Football: 5 Things to Watch in Spring Practices

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2. The Return of Curt Maggitt

Maggitt (56) looks to make some noise this season. PHOTO: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Vols defense lacked SEC speed possibly more than any defense in the 14 team conference. Running backs and mobile QB’s repeatedly turned the corner and beat Tennessee’s defenders to the edge on their way to a big gain. The linebacking corps were especially suspect with their speed, failing to cover receivers over the middle or stop shifty RB’s.

Enter redshirt junior Curt Maggitt.

The 6’3″ 239 lb linebacker was expected to be one of the vital pieces in the 2013 Vols defense and would provide them with a competent pass rusher. Unfortunately, he was never able to fully recover from a torn ACL he suffered during the 2012 season and ended up sitting out last season, obtaining a medical redshirt.

Over a year and a half after sustaining the devastating injury, Maggitt is ready to suit up and play for the Big Orange once again. The redshirt junior enters this season with 2.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, and 3 forced fumbles in a little over a season and a half of work. He brings an athleticism the defense sorely missed last season, and he joins A.J. Johnson as the only players in the defensive front seven with notable experience.

Maggitt has the size and speed to be a linebacker/defensive end hybrid that can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, and coaches and fans will be keeping an eye on him throughout spring practices to see if he looks like he did his sophomore year before getting banged up or if his injuries have slowed him down to a shell of his former self.