Tennessee football: 15 potential dark-horse Vols for 2019 season

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime /
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Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images
Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images /

Sticking with the interior line, Riley Locklear was listed as a member of the second team in Tennessee football’s Orange and White game back in the spring. As a guy who only played in four games in 2017 and then six in 2018, it was understandable to be skeptical of his value, especially with his size at 6’4″ 286 pounds.

But entering this year, there may be more dependency on him than people know. Locklear is listed as the other potential started at left guard along with Trey Smith, and we still aren’t sure how healthy Smith will be or even if he’s cleared to go. Combine that with the injury issues facing Brandon Kennedy, and Locklear could become a major piece of the interior line.

Remember, this guy was once a four-star recruit. So he clearly brings with him some sort of raw talent, and he now has experience in the pro-style system. The hype behind Smith and Kennedy, if they can get healthy, is warranted, along with Ryan Johnson’s return to guard thanks to Kennedy.

Locklear, however, is another name who could play a valuable role in the offensive line taking a major step forward this year. The belief in his potential can’t be totally unfounded, and if a couple of things happen, he may be called upon and could turn into a star up front.