Tennessee football: 10 Vols who should have breakout seasons in 2018

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 28: Ty Chandler #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 28: Ty Chandler #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs with the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images
Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images /

We’re staying on the line for this next player, but we move to the offensive line. Drew Richmond has been a bit of a mixed bag since he arrived on campus. To be fair, he’s shown enough signs of greatness that maybe he should not be on this list.

But once a five-star recruit, Richmond has struggled with consistency. When he arrived in 2015, he had to redshirt his first year. Then, in 2016, he struggled early because of the complex defensive schemes Tennessee football faced to start that year.

However, down the stretch, he played a role in the Vols’ record-setting offense, particularly against the Missouri Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats. Then came last year, which was an overall disaster, and Richmond was one of many players to miss nearly half the season due to injury.

Now, with a new coaching staff and a clean bill of health, he has the chance to finally live up to his potential. It’s likely that Tyson Helton will keep Richmond starting at left tackle. He’s still the most proven guy there.

At 6’5″ 316 pounds, he’s much more built to be a power blocker in a pro-style offense as opposed to a spread. That means that Helton’s offense should fit him perfectly if he’s trying to do everything he says.

With Trey Smith and Chance Hall getting healthy and Brandon Kennedy arriving, Richmond should have more help on the line than ever before as well. That gives him a great chance to finally emerge as an elite player. And it’s why we have him on our list.