No. 3 – Daniel Bituli, Linebacker
Coming in at number three on our list is linebacker Daniel Bituli. Last season was a coming out party of sorts for Bituli. Fellow linebacker, Darrin Kirkland Jr. went down with an injury last season, and Bituli had no other choice but to step up and be a leader for the defense.
With the First Pick
After only registering nine total tackles in four games from his freshman season in 2016. Bituli had almost 100 tackles last season. 90 total tackles to be exact.
One of the most exciting plays last season was the 97-yard interception return for a touchdown against Alabama. What is crazy about that play is most people forget about Bituli because Rashaan Gaulden flipping off the fans in a blowout.
Bituli gets the number three ranking because of the fact we do not know if Darrin Kirkland Jr. is going to stay healthy. Take my Tennessee fandom away, I want every single player on any team to stay healthy, but with Kirkland Jr., you never know.
So, if he or anyone from the linebacking core goes down, Bituli is going to important to stay consistent. If he can stay healthy, he could post some All-SEC type of numbers and really help the Vols have a respectable defense.