Again, Tennessee football had many issues on defense. But just like Darrin Kirkland Jr. was a glimmer of hope at linebacker, Shy Tuttle was that at defensive tackle. Playing alongside Alexis Johnson, he showed he could be effective at nose tackle in the 3-4 system despite the concern over his lack of size.
Tuttle had five tackles on the day, and three of them were solo. And here’s the real key: he also picked up a sack. This is not very common with the West Virginia Mountaineers and Will Grier. The goal is to get pressure on him since that forces bad throws, but he usually doesn’t get sacked. So Tuttle should be proud of what he did there.
When the Vols faced Grier and the Florida Gators back in 2015, Tuttle was one of the guys on the field that day. He was a freshman. Now, three years later with the two as seniors, he was able to get the best of Grier once even if Grier won the overall day.
With all the issues in the back seven, it was hard to imagine Tuttle being able to make too much of an impact. But he did enough to have a positive effect, and Vols fans should be excited about what he can do the rest of the way.
As we said from the start, this was a bad match-up. It was also one that should have been hard for a nose tackle to rack up stats. But that wasn’t the case with Tuttle, and as a result, he certainly belongs on this list as one of the top performers.