Tennessee football: Top 10 Vols fall camp position battles

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Micah Abernathy
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Micah Abernathy /
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Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images
Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images /

8. Right tackle

Tennessee football’s offensive line was horrible last year, and the unit is completely up for grabs this year in terms of who gets into the rotation. But there are a few clear favorites, so the whole line is not a position battle.

For instance, Trey Smith at guard is a given once he gets healthy. Drew Richmond is enough of a favorite at left tackle. Even Riley Locklear is enough of a favorite for the other starting guard position at this point.

But right tackle? That is a complete question. Marcus Tatum and Nathan Niehaus both have experience at the position. Jerome Carvin was a four-star offensive lineman whom Jeremy Pruitt specifically targeted, was an early enrollee and could play guard or tackle. Heck, even Smith could move over to tackle if necessary.

In addition to all of these candidates, you have Chance Hall returning to health. Hall was a big part of the 2015 Vols’ offense, but he’s struggled with injuries each of the past two years, including missing all of 2017. With so many issues last year up front, Hall has returned to form to reclaim his spot.

Pruitt talked about limiting Hall’s reps early this fall, but he’s clearly the best option at right tackle all things being equal. Either he will be able to retake that spot, Smith will have to move over to that spot, or Tatum, Niehaus or Carvin will have done enough to win the job. But this will be a big part of the preseason for the Vols.