We could have used this for two different spots. After all, both cornerback positions are up for grabs, as is the nickel position. Simply put, there is no way of knowing where Tennessee football will go here. The departures of Rashaan Gaulden, Emmanuel Moseley, Justin Martin and even Shaq Wiggins have made this unit a giant mystery.
The safety rotation is pretty set, even if the starter isn’t for one position. Everything, though, is open here. Considering the fact that it’s the main area of expertise for Jeremy Pruitt and the unit coached by a former Vol in Terry Fair, these guys are going to have a lot of pressure.
Marquill Osborne and Baylen Buchanan would be the favorites to start. Both have experience in that regard. But Shawn Shamburger could also make noise, while Cheyenne Labruzza and D.J. Henderson will also be working to get into the rotation.
Then there are numerous guys who had an impact in the spring. We’re talking about the elite athlete in Alontae Taylor and the converted running back who made tremendous strides in Carlin Fils-Aime. You also have Terrell Bailey, who worked with the first-team in the spring, junior college transfer Kenneth George Jr., and newcomers Brandon Davis and Bryce Thompson. Thompson was a four-star who is a natural athlete, so watch out for him.
Simply put, Tennessee football has a ton of guys who can compete for the two cornerback spots and nickelback. Buchanan, Osborne and Shamburger may be the favorites. But everybody else is in contention as well.
What is clear is this is a major concern for the Vols. The secondary struggled significantly in the spring because of here, and the transition to the 3-4 is always a difficult one. As a result, this will be an area of focus for the coaches. They need to find the right guys and fast. Otherwise, this will be a brutal season on Rocky Top when it comes to the pass defense.