Here is a look at the Tennessee football Volunteers’ 2021 defensive tackle situation.
A hallmark of Tennessee football with the arrival of Jeremy Pruitt was restoring the program’s dominance in the trenches. Pruitt rightly said that the need to dominate the line of scrimmage to win in the SEC is not a secret to anybody.
When it comes to defensive tackles specifically, Pruitt has had a rough ride. After working to build up his historically bad offensive line coming off his first season, he had to replace all of the starters from the 2018 defensive line.
Adding to that issue, Tennessee football’s most prominent defensive tackle heading into last year, Emmit Gooden, suffered a season-ending injury in August. That made for lots of issues, and the unit took some serious time to gel.
However, those issues make for a veteran, deeper line heading into 2020. With Gooden out, Michigan Wolverines transfer Aubrey Solomon emerged into a star. Junior college transfer Darel Middleton became a force too. Savion Williams is still in the system. Now Gooden is back this year, making for a much deeper and better unit. Here’s the problem: All four of those guys are seniors.
There is good news for players behind them, as Greg Emerson and Kurrott Garland are both entering redshirt sophomore years and were starters at different points last year. Kingston Harris is still on the roster, and Dominic Bailey, Omari Thomas and Elijah Simmons have been other additions over the past two classes.
As a result, UT still is loaded at defensive tackle for the future. But if the Vols are going to get where they need to be, Pruitt has to keep the door revolving. So where do they stand for the future? Well, that’s what we’re gong to break down in this post.
Our focus here is where Rocky Top specifically stands in its 2021 recruiting class at the defensive tackle position in Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme. We’ll evaluate current commitments, top prospects, prospects who could still be in play and potential prospects.
Even with a top five class, Pruitt will want to make sure he is constantly restocking his line. Let’s go ahead and break down how he’s doing on that front right now. This is our analysis of Tennessee football’s 2021 recruiting class right now at the defensive tackle position.