Evaluating Tennessee football’s 2021 edge rusher class at dead period

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Here is a look at edge rushers in the Tennessee football Volunteers’ 2021 recruiting class.

In a 3-4 system like what Tennessee football runs, edge rusher is a unique combination of multiple positions. However, all of them are crucial to the system, especially given the blitz packages Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley like to run.

These positions include one player who plays defensive end up on the line and another player who is weakside end or outside linebacker depending on the formation. The outside linebacker spots can both include such players at times. All of these can make up edge rushers.

With the departure of Darrell Taylor, Tennessee football is looking for help at its two outside linebacker positions. Deandre Johnson is a rising senior on that front, and Kivon Bennett is a rising junior and emerging star.

The sole defensive end position, however, is set with three seniors in a rotation this year: Matther Butler, LaTrell Bumphus and Ja’Quain Blakely. Then there is junior John Mincey for depth. However, taking all this talent into account, there is lots of work to do beyond 2021.

That’s where Pruitt’s recruiting comes into play. In this post, we continue with our evaluation of the Vols’ 2021 class at the dead period by taking a look at edge rushers. What is Rocky Top’s situation heading into 2021?

Of everybody we just named, only Bennett and Mincey will still be on the roster, and both will be seniors. Now, Roman Harrison is a star for the future who was in the 2019 class, and Tyler Baron, Morven Joseph and Reginald Perry were all part of the 2020 class. Linebacker Tamarion McDonald could also help fill this void.

Simply put, the Vols have loaded up on some talent for the future, but they need to do more. There is a reason Pruitt lamented the lack of depth at this position specifically last summer. He’s working on building it up, and that continues to be the case for 2021.

In our evaluations, we’ll note the strongside and weakside players among the commitments and top prospects. Weakside players are the ones who can play outside linebacker in the 3-4. So let’s go ahead and break all of them down. Here is a look at Tennessee football’s edge rusher situation in its 2021 recruiting class.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse