6’0″ 205 pounds; Hometown: Austell, Ga.
We’re still light on juniors when it comes to this list, but if one player has the potential to leave early, Jaylen McCollough is that player. Now, to be fair, McCollough was part of a lot of busted coverages last year that resulted in the secondary struggling the way it did. However, there were numerous factors that went into that, including his lack of development due to COVID.
This year, McCollough figures to start again at safety, which he has been doing since midway through his true freshman season, and don’t forget the promise he showed that season, coming away with three tackles for a loss, a sack, two pass deflections and 33 tackles, nine of which were solo. That was a solid way to begin his career.
Last year, McCollough had two and a half tackles for a loss, two pass deflections and 43 tackles, 29 of which were solo. The production may have dipped, but the graduate of Cobb County’s Hill Grove High School didn’t just battle COVID restrictions. He was also banged up.
With a full offseason and a chance to thrive, McCollough’s NFL Draft stock will likely skyrocket this season. He is your typical kid from Georgia with elite physical gifts and a high IQ. That should be on display in a huge way Josh Heupel’s first season as Tennessee football’s head coach.