These are likely safe starting spots but ones with some competition.
Joe Doyle; Punter; Redshirt Sophomore
Joe Doyle continued Tennessee football’s tradition of Punter U and followed in Trevor Daniel’s footsteps of being a walk-on to beat out a highly touted prospect, this time in Paxton Brooks, to win the role. He showed potential with over 41 yards a punt, 12 of 65 going over 50 yards, 23 going inside the 20, 28 being fair-caught and a long of 71. However, Brooks is still the kickoff specialist, so Doyle could lose his job to Brooks if he’s not careful. His production is the only reason he has a mention.
Jauan Jennings; Wide Receiver; Redshirt Senior
Jauan Jennings is likely to not just start but be the No. 1 guy at wide receiver. Like Marquez Callaway, he’s on there due to production. However, his injury questions and the depth at the position still leave a slight possibility that he’ll come off the bench, which is why we have him as an honorable mention for now entering his fifth-year senior season.
Brandon Kennedy; Offensive Lineman; Redshirt Senior
With Brandon Kennedy’s return to center, Tennessee football can move Ryan Johnson back over to guard. That upgrades the Vols at two spots, giving them a great chance already at being better next year. However, Kennedy has to be an honorable mention because Johnson did develop at center, and we can’t be sure how healthy he’ll be coming off a season-ending injury. Those things keep him here.
Josh Palmer; Wide Receiver; Junior
Again, like Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway, Josh Palmer is a favorite to start. But while Jennings has the injury concern, Palmer, the favorite to start in the slot after being the most improved offensive player in the spring, simply has a lack of proven production as a slot guy. Jordan Murphy and Tyler Byrd have more speed, so it will still depend on how Jim Chaney wants to run things. But Palmer clearly is a major favorite, which is why we put him on the list.