Tennessee football: Five Vols to watch for vs. Georgia State Panthers

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Ty Chandler

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Opening day for Tennessee football in 2019 is a home game against the Georgia State Panthers. Here are five Volunteers to watch on Saturday.

Welcome to the start of the season! Tennessee football will face a team that was 2-10 last year to open up Jeremy Pruitt’s second year on Rocky Top along with a head coach it has faced in Neyland Stadium once before.

Shawn Elliott, who once coached the South Carolina Gamecocks in the interim in 2015 as Steve Spurrier retired, heads back to Knoxville leading the Georgia State Panthers in his third year. He gave the Vols a scare when leading S.C.

This time, though, he’s got far fewer horses. Meanwhile, he’s dealing with a completely different program led by Pruitt and a completely different style of play by Tennessee football. But which players stand out in that style of play?

As we get set to name the Vols’ key players in their opener against Georgia State, it’s important to note how much higher the expectations are on Rocky Top this year because of some of these guys. One game into the season usually means that the key players are the impact players.

That’s especially the case when UT is facing a team that was 2-10 last year and returns a lot of its talent, similar to them. Sure, the program as a whole should be much better, but the principle weaknesses for both schools should still be the same.

So if the Vols are going to avoid an upset, they have to make sure that the players who can exploit GSU’s weaknesses, and hold off what could be developing strengths, step up and play their role. Doing that could help them not just win the game but make sure they control it in a big way, getting out of there in time to prepare for the BYU Cougars.

Which members on Rocky Top will be key to doing that? Who needs to make the early impact to kick off Pruitt’s second season the right way? Let’s break them down here. These are the five Vols to watch for in Tennessee football’s opener against the Georgia State Panthers.

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