5. Offensive line
Like almost everywhere else, Tennessee football suffered a wave of transfers and departures on the offensive line from this past offseason. Wanya Morris transferred to the Oklahoma Sooners, Jahmir Johnson transferred to the Texas A&M Aggies and Trey Smith and Brandon Kennedy are now gone, with Smith in the NFL and Kennedy still working for his shot.
However, amidst all that, Darnell Wright and Cade Mays provided a foundation for Josh Heupel to build his offensive line around his first year. Riley Locklear was hurt during spring ball, but the production was still pretty solid, and that’s the good news.
Now, what’s questionable about this ranking is that the defensive line struggled so severely. That was clearly more on the defensive line’s struggles than elite play by the offensive line, but it’s still somewhat encouraging for this unit, which is why it was able to reach the top half of this list.
On the other hand, there were a couple of breakout stars on the line during spring ball, particularly former walk-on Dayne Davis. Combine that with Mays once again proving his ability to play different spots up front, and overall, this was a solid spring for the group. Keeping the quarterbacks clean during the spring game certainly helped their case.