Tennessee football has no linebackers committed for its 2020 recruiting class. Here’s a look at where the Volunteers stand overall at the position.
One of the major changes for Tennessee football in the Vols’ transition to Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-4 system was the role of linebackers. Butch Jones’s defensive coordinators ran a nickel-based 4-3 set with only two linebackers on the field most of the time.
Last year, the Vols began to run four linebackers on the field. Now, that transition involved moving one defensive end to outside linebacker whenever there were three down linemen, but the principle was still the same. And it increases the need for linebackers in the future.
However, right now, Tennessee football doesn’t have any linebackers committed for its 2020 recruiting class. On top of that, the Vols have two seniors, inside linebacker Daniel Bituli and outside linebacker Darrell Taylor, who figure to be the most important players there this upcoming season. If Darrin Kirkland Jr. hadn’t retired, they would have had three seniors.
As a result, a look at where the Vols stand at outside linebacker is a big deal. While we get set to analyze what their 2020 recruiting situation looks like there, it’s first important to recognize that some of the defensive linemen we mentioned in our evaluation there will be included in this list. Many of them become edge rushers in Pruitt’s system.
That doesn’t mean the Vols don’t have work to do, though. And this analysis will still include pure outside linebackers. Before getting started, let’s note the future. On the outside, Deandre Johnson and Jordan Allen are the outside linebackers. Both are juniors, so none of the major players will be there past 2020.
Guys who are on that list on the outside include, well, just Kivon Bennett and Roman Harrison. Quavaris Crouch can help out, though, as he’s a four-star freshman who can likely play all four positions, but he’s more of an inside guy, which goes to our next look at linebackers. Shanon Reid and Will Ignont, who will be in the rotation with Bituli on the inside, are both juniors as well.
Behind them, however, is Solon PageIII, a sophomore, and then there’s freshmen JJ Peterson and Henry To’oto’o. So at this point, beyond 2020, the Vols have three inside linebackers, two outside linebackers and a guy who can play both.
That’s enough for a solid rotation, but it requires more help. Let’s look at where that can come from here with our evaluation of the Tennessee football 2020 recruiting class at linebacker. With no commitments yet, we’ll do separate pages for the top prospects on the inside and outside, then one for other potential prospects before closing with a final take and prediction.