Another defensive lineman being on this list is not surprising given Tennessee football’s needs there. Who better to top the list for the Vols than a four-star recruit at that position in 2018 who took a redshirt?
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Greg Emerson has already been working with the first team at times, and he clearly has the potential to be highly effective. Jeremy Pruitt may go very big and put defensive tackle-sized linemen across the front, which gives Emerson a great chance to play alongside Savion Williams and Darel Middleton, even if Aubrey Solomon does get the green light.
Right now, Emerson is way ahead of Kingston Harris, even if both are showing enough to be on this list. He saw action in one game last year before taking his redshirt, but that’s because he was limited due to getting looks from Jeremy Pruitt on the offensive line last year.
This offseason, he has been fully committed to defensive line, and that puts his potential through the roof entering this year, especially with all the needs there. Emerson is the one redshirt freshman on the roster who is probably already a favorite to be in a major rotation.
If the Vols do maintain some competency at defensive line this year after all the hits they’ve taken, Emerson is going to be a reason for it. Tennessee football could thrive if Emerson meets his expectations, and he’s getting that chance now. As a result, he’s UT’s top redshirt freshman heading into 2019.