Tennessee football: Vols 5 most important seniors for 2018 season

BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle
BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle /
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Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images /

We’re staying on the defensive line and naming another player that Tennessee football simply cannot afford to lose for the season. Kyle Phillips was also a member of that 2015 defensive line class, and he was a five-star. He also suffered back to back season ending injuries.

Now, he enters 2018 with all the same new systems Shy Tuttle has and his first full offseason since his freshman year. He also figures to line up next to Tuttle. So will he finally reach the hype for the season? We just have to wait and see.

Phillips is at a position where he’s the only proven guy. Every other defensive end who showed anything for the Vols in previous years has moved to outside linebacker. So as the only guy set to stay up front, there’s a lot of pressure on Phillips to perform at a high level. He has to help play his role in generating pressure from the front seven.

Considering the fact that he’s the only proven end and is also playing a position that is critical by itself, his role is going to be huge for the Vols. Tennessee football will struggle if he can’t live up to the expectations, and that’s going to be a big problem.

The Vols need Phillips to be the five-star he was recruited to be. A pass-rush is the one thing that can save the defense, and he’s the one guy who can help deliver it. So together, Phillips and Tuttle in this new system will determine how things go up front.