Tennessee football is undergoing a major schematic change on the defensive line. Here is a preview of the Volunteers in the trenches for 2018.
Like many spots under Butch Jones, the Tennessee football defensive line was marked by gross levels of underachievement. A historically great recruiting class in 2015 has still not lived up to its hype, and a change in defensive coordinators and line coaching only made things worse.
Well, with a brand new staff, the Vols have new coaches all the way around this time. Also, the splash player of Jones’s elite defensive line recruiting, Kahlil McKenzie, is gone to the NFL. And finally, the unit has to undergo a schematic change to a 3-4 with multiple tendencies, one that McKenzie was really the only fit for at defensive tackle.
Needless to say, Jeremy Pruitt and Kevin Sherrer have a bit of work to do to keep this line up to snuff. The good news? Recruiting rankings and flashes in previous years show that Tennessee football does have talent up front. New defensive line coach Tracy Rocker has a lot to work with and is the perfect, intense guy to bring out the best in these players as well.
As we move onto the defensive side of the ball for our positional previews of the Vols’ 2018 season, we are staying in the trenches for now. Like always, we’ll separate the slides by projected starters, projected backups, major questions and then a final take. The defensive line is a huge deal, and there are tons of questions here. On top of the switch and the loss of McKenzie, Pruitt also converted numerous elite defensive ends to linebacker.
So this unit lost its elite guys like Jonathan Kongbo and Darrell Taylor. That only makes things more difficult. However, the program has enough talent to be good. So let’s take a look at their situation. This is our preview of the 2018 Tennessee football defensive line.