Tennessee football: Vols in Top 20 of Athlon’s preseason Top 25

Tennessee football is in another preseason Top 25 poll for the 2017 season. The Volunteers are ranked inside the magazine’s preseason Top 20.

Despite questions about Butch Jones’s future, Tennessee football is still getting quite a bit of preseason recognition.

With a debate still centering around who the new starting quarterback will be this Fall, the Vols managed to squeak into the Athlon Magazine Preseason Top 25 for the 2017 season.

Tennessee came in at No. 19, just ahead of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and just behind the Louisville Cardinals.

Here is a snippet of what Athlon said about the Vols.

The Volunteers fell short of most preseason expectations of a SEC East title in 2016, but coach Butch Jones has still pieced together back-to-back nine-win seasons. In order for Tennessee to edge Florida and Georgia in the East this fall, this team has to navigate a schedule that features games at Alabama and Florida, while LSU and Georgia visit Neyland Stadium. The SEC slate presents its share of challenges, but the Volunteers also have some significant personnel concerns on both sides of the ball.

Those personnel issues include a new signal caller to replace Joshua Dobbs, the need to replace elite stars like Derek Barnett, and a new offensive coordinator in Larry Scott.

However, the magazine did note that the Vols still have solid playmakerde. Those playmakers include John Kelly, Jauan Jennings, and then other top recruits on defense due to break out.

Tennessee’s ranking is third among SEC East teams behind the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs. Those two teams come in at No. 16 and No. 15 respectively.

The Vols are sixth among SEC teams overall when you add the LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, and Alabama Crimson Tide.

No other SEC teams made it into Athlon’s Top 25.

Last year, the Vols came in at No. 7 in Athlon’s preseason ranking. They were in the Top 10 across many services and disappointed.

This year, they have a chance to over-achieve instead.