Brent Cimaglia would not have been on this list a week ago. Paxton Brooks, the Vols’ projected starter at punter, is still not on this list. But even though both are the favorites to start at their respective positions, the road is not as clear for Brooks, and as an unproven true freshman punter, he is projected to struggle with consistency this year anyway.
On the other hand, Cimaglia makes this list because of the clear road and what he should be projected to do. Starting with the clear road, Ryan Tice, the graduate transfer kicker with the Michigan Wolverines, is no longer with the program. Without that competition, Cimaglia is the clear favorite to start and has nothing to mess with his head.
Also, as history shows, kickers and punters can often times take their biggest step in their sophomore seasons. That should be the case with Cimaglia after he split time with Aaron Medley last year. While splitting time, he was eerily similar to Medley by being automatic on extra points and kicks under 40 yards but horrible on kicks beyond 40 yards, 2-for-7 to be exact.
However, Cimaglia did make a field goal beyond 50 yards, and nailing two beyond 40 shows he has the leg power. Also, he was 8-of-13 overall. So he has shown he can kick. If, unlike Medley, he actually takes that second step his sophomore year, Tennessee football could have a major advantage here. And that’s what puts him on this list.