Baylen Buchanan; Shawn Shamburger; Cheyenne Labruzza
Also known as the nickel slot, Tennessee football should have a clear favorite to start here in Baylen Buchanan. After all, the son of Ray Buchanan is a senior, has proven himself in terms of his football IQ and picking up defenses, and is the perfect fit for covering slot guys.
However, Buchanan was held out of the spring and will be limited to start fall camp. As a result, this slot is a bit more open, and Shawn Shamburger and Cheyenne Labruzza have both spent a significant amount of time with the program.
As a result, either one of those guys could potentially work their way into the starting lineup if Buchanan is not fully ready to go when he gets back. He may need some time to get back into football shape. It somewhat opens the position up for competition, and some people are already predicting Shamburger to be the starter.
This is more of a position of flexibility, as the star won’t always be on the field. The coaches can move other guys around away from where there is more depth if things don’t work out, but these are the guys specifically in competition to start just in this role.
Jeremy Pruitt did say Nigel Warrior could play star as well if needed, moving somebody else into his safety role. But the ideal situation would be for Warrior to stay at strong safety and Buchanan to resume his starting role here.