Like Keller Chryst, Todd Kelly Jr. doesn’t even have a guaranteed starting job this year for Tennessee football. However, Micah Abernathy struggled significantly at safety last year. With Nigel Warrior locking up the other spot, you figure Kelly should come in and get his position back.
Before getting hurt, the Tennessee football legacy was a very huge playmaker. Kelly had eight interceptions through three years and figured to break out even more in 2017. Now, he’s back for a fifth-year senior season. And the Vols need him to return to the level he was once at.
Remember, Kelly had a ton of talent. And he comes from a football family, like Warrior. Heck, their fathers are Todd Kelly Sr. and Dale Carter, and the two were teammates for the Vols in 1990 and 1991. So these legacy players can follow in their parents’ footsteps as a safety duo if they rise to the occasion with one final chance this season.
Kelly has to rise to that occasion. The Vols have numerous issues at defensive back as it is because of the switch to a 3-4 and the attrition at cornerback. Returning to form at safety with Warrior could help offset that significantly.
Abernathy’s play as a senior will be important if Kelly can’t do that. However, Abernathy comes with so many questions after struggling last year and having to make that same 3-4 transition. As a result, Kelly is the guy you want to step up here. And that makes him, coming back for one more year of eligibility, a crucial senior for the team.