It was expected that Nigel Warrior would start at one safety spot for Tennessee football. While the other safety spot was open, Trevon Flowers was always the favorite to land there, and Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that he would be the starter with the depth chart released on Monday. That leaves Theo Jackson, a junior with experience, as the odd man out.
However, don’t fully count him out. An injury to Baylen Buchanan and the suspension of Bryce Thompson has Pruitt shifting around the cornerback positions, and that could give Jackson an in. Shawn Shamburger and Warren Burrell are the favorites to fill in those roles. But there’s a chance Pruitt moves Warrior over to star, at which point Jackson would be the guy to step up at safety.
Initially, Jaylen McCullough looked like a guy who would make it on this list after his standout spring performance. But he is listed as a No. 3 safety. So we go back to Jackson, who is 6’2″ 190 pounds and has played in 22 games the last two years. Last year, he had 20 tackles, a tackle for a loss, two passes defended and a forced fumble.
Simply put, Jackson is a very solid player and a major force. Expect him to be a player who sees action no matter what, and just a couple of bounces could result in him emerging into a star. He’s shown some potential of that already.