Tennessee football Smokey points: Top 5 Vols who performed vs. Georgia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: John Kelly /
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Photo by Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images /

Tennessee football lost all its production at defensive end from last year. That included the pass end in school history in Derek Barnett and two other very productive edge rushers in LaTroy Lewis and Corey Vereen.

So going into this year, they had to find a whole new crop of guys. Jonathan Kongbo was a five-star who would settle in on the strong side. Kyle Phillips was once a five-star who would be in the mix.

But Darrell Taylor was the guy who broke out in the spring. Brady Hoke promoted him a lot, and against the Georgia Tech triple-option, he was one of the few bright spots.

Despite no help from the defensive tackles, Taylor did everything he could. And in the first half, he played a huge role in stifling Georgia Tech drives.

Even after the Yellow Jackets adjusted while Bob Shoop couldn’t, Taylor was the one guy making plays.

He finished the game with 12 overall tackles.

But the story of the game was the fact that he made the final play. The Vols were unable to stop Georgia Tech’s triple-option the entire second half, and the Yellow Jackets went for two and the win in the second overtime.

Taylor got off his block and sniffed out TaQuon Marshall‘s cut into the inside, stopping him in his tracks on the two-point play. Marshall threw it in desperation, but the pass hit the ground. And the Vols held on for the win.

Tennessee was awful all night on defense, but they needed one play at the end. Taylor made that play, and it puts him on this list.