There’s a long history of junior college players becoming standout stars for Tennessee football. With a new head coach in Josh Heupel, a 3-7 record the year before and a mass exodus of players due to the transition and an NCAA investigation, all junior college players will be expected to make an immediate impact on Rocky Top this year.
Which one has the best chance to make an early impact, though? Well, that’s what we’re going to break down here. The Vols have five players on their team who were enrolled in junior college last year, and we’re going to look at each player’s chance to make an early impact.
Our criteria will include the position they play, their projected skill level and how much experience they already have in the system. After all, some of these players got a head start by taking part in spring practice, and others didn’t. Two committed to Heupel, two committed to Jeremy Pruitt and one committed to Kevin Steele. This is our ranking of Tennessee football’s five JuCo players.
Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kan.)
Heupel added Jeremiah Crawford to his 2021 recruiting class on National Signing Day. A three-star across the board, the 6’5″ 315-pound product of Kansas’ Goddard High School, which is just outside of Wichita but still in Sedgwick County, provides immediate, necessary depth at the position. Crawford arrives on Rocky Top as a junior.
With the transfers of Wanya Morris and Jahmir Johnson, outside blocking is at a bit of a premium, and as an offensive tackle specifically, Crawford can help with that. As a result, there’s a strong possibility he finds himself in the rotation immediately.
However, Tennessee football still has Darnell Wright and K’Rojhn Calbert to man the outside as starters, and Cade Mays could move out there too. Meanwhile, Crawford wasn’t around in the spring, when walk-on Dayne Davis began to emerge. As a result, there are a lot of factors working against his potential early impact, which is why we have him down here.