We know how historically bad the Tennessee football offensive line was last year. Given the fact that he played in all 12 games and had five starts, Marcus Tatum would figure to be a part of it. But we attribute it to the fact that he was learning the pro-style offense and was thrown to the wolves, which has been a staple of his career, with Trey Smith being out.
Smith is still out due to blood clots. Meanwhile, Drew Richmond has transferred, and Chance Hall, Nathan Niehaus, Eric Crosby and Melvin McBride have all retired. So the offensive tackle position is wide open, and at this point, Tatum is the only person on the roster who is good to go and has any experience playing at the position.
That makes him a crucial player the Vols can’t afford to lose. Jeremy Pruitt clearly already loves Wanya Morris as a tackle, and Darnell Wright has a ton of hype. But right now, Tatum has to be the anchor on the outside.
At 6’6″ 316 pounds, he has gotten bigger this offseason. Combine that with more development, and he should be a very valuable asset. But if the Vols lose him, given the situation they are already in, they will be in huge trouble.