4. No. 2 Defensive tackle
Aubrey Solomon; Savion Williams; Darel Middleton
There is no position made up of more questions for Tennessee football this year than defensive line. And defensive tackle is key to that. Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme uses two defensive tackles up front. Last year, the Vols ran Alexis Johnson and Shy Tuttle up there, but both are gone. The depth, meanwhile, was not helpful down the stretch of games last year.
Still, Emmit Gooden appears locked in for one starting defensive tackle role. He began to develop down the stretch of last season and finished with 33 tackles, seven and a half tackles for a loss and a sack.
The other spot, though, is completely up for grabs. And in all likelihood, the fight will come down to three transfers. If he gets the waiver from the NCAA to be eligible this year, Michigan Wolverines transfer Aubrey Solomon, once a five-star defensive tackle, is likely the favorite to start. He was there in the spring and picked up lots of nuances.
Otherwise, four-star junior college transfer Savion Williams and three-star junior college transfer Darel Middleton, who also comes from Last Chance U and stands at 6’7″, are both in position to win that other job. Simply put, it’s wide open among all of them.
After those three, there are guys like Kingston Harris and Greg Emerson, members of the 2018 class, in there. And Elijah Simmons, a member of the 2019 class, could be a true nose tackle at 6’2″ 340 pounds. Kurrott Garland entered the transfer portal and could be in the mix if he returns. But for now, the three main guys fighting for that No. 2 spot are the three transfers.