We said we’d ignore the walk-on kickers and punters since they figure to be backups this year. If Laszlo Toser of Joe Doyle wins the starting job, this changes. For now, though, I don’t see that happening, and that’s why they aren’t on the list.
Elijah Medford, though, has to be on the list. He’s the only guy on this list who’s actually likely to start games this year. For the past two years, Medford has been the Vols starting short-snapper, handling field goals, extra points and short punts.
The long-snapper, Riley Lovingood, is the guy who gets more recognition here. After all, Lovingood was once the SEC co-special teams player of the week. But he’s actually on scholarship. Entering his redshirt senior season, Medford isn’t. But that doesn’t mean he’s not playing a crucial role for Tennessee football.
In fact, this year more than ever, Medford’s experience matters. He’s dealing with a new starting kicker and punter. Sure, Brent Cimaglia had experience kicking last year. But this is his first full season figuring to be the main starter. So things are going to change a lot there, and Medford’s play will be critical to that.
We could move Medford higher actually, but the fact of the matter is he can only be so important. His assuredness of playing is what puts him on the list more than anything else, especially since the guys he is ahead are still a bit of a long-shot to play. But the guys ahead of him may not be.