While Jauan Jennings is the go-to wide receiver for Tennessee football, Darrell Taylor was the stats leader for the Vols on defense last year. And, again, giving you an idea of the quality UT has among its few seniors, Taylor is only fourth on this list. But don’t let that diminish just how crucial of a player he can be for Jeremy Pruitt.
Last year, Taylor had to transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme. The switch resulted in a slow start for him. But he finished the season with eight sacks, which leads all returners in the SEC this year, and 11 tackles for a loss. He also had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Here’s the problem. Taylor, while developing and struggling with consistency, only did that over the course of three games, against the Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats and Vanderbilt Commodores. But he was the No. 2 guy for half the season before Jonathan Kongbo’s injury.
Now, he returns as the one proven edge rusher and one of the top defenders on the team. Another fifth-year senior, he is looking to go out with a bang. If he’s able to take what he did last year and make it more consistent, he could end up setting unprecedented records on Rocky Top.